Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now

  The development and application of metabolomics tools to study human metabolism in health and disease

   Institute of Systems, Molecular and Integrative Biology

  ,  Wednesday, July 31, 2024  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Metabolites play many important roles in humans including through metabolism to support our growth and health, through incorporation of lipids in cell membranes to influence transport of biochemicals in to and out of cells and to regulate biochemical processes. Metabolism operates to sustain a healthy phenotype but is sometimes perturbed which leads to an unhealthy phenotype, ageing phenotype or development of a disease. We can study low thousands of metabolites and metabolism in a discovery-based approach applying metabolomics (which is the metabolite version of proteomics and transcriptomics). Metabolomics applies a workflow including experimental design, sample preparation, data acquisition using chromatography-mass spectrometry platforms, raw data processing, metabolite identification and statistical analysis followed by biological interpretation.

The PhD project will be developed based on the requirements of the successful student and funding. In general the student will develop new laboratory or computational metabolomics tools and apply these tools to study metabolism in humans in relation to health, ageing or disease. As an example, a previous student developed the use of dried blood spot (DBS) collection for sample collection away from the clinic and applied DBS sampling to study vitamin A toxicity in humans. Potential areas of study could include cardiovascular diseases, endocrinology or cancers. This PhD therefore provides a range of opportunities to develop the PhD research goals.

The PhD student will be immersed in a multi-disciplinary training programme in experimental and computational metabolomics workflows, analytical chemistry and human biochemistry. The student will be integrated into a large metabolomics research ecosystem (4 PIs and 15 PhD, post-doctoral researchers and technicians) at the University of Liverpool under the umbrella of the Centre for Metabolomics Research. The student will also integrate with clinical teams to understand the role of clinical research in human health and disease.

Applicants must have obtained or be about to obtain a First or Upper Second class UK honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology.

Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6) Medicine (26)

Funding Notes

The project is open to both European/UK and International students. It is UNFUNDED and applicants are encouraged to contact the Principal Supervisor directly to discuss their application and the project. Assistance will be given to those who are applying to international funding schemes.
The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses as well as research costs of £5000 or more per year.
Details of costs can be found on the University website:
View Website


1. Allaway D, Alexander JE, Carvell-Miller LJ, Reynolds RM, Winder CL, Weber RJM, Lloyd GR, Southam AD, Dunn WB. Suitability of Dried Blood Spots for Accelerating Veterinary Biobank Collections and Identifying Metabolomics Biomarkers With Minimal Resources. Front Vet Sci. 2022 Jun 22;9:887163. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2022.887163.
2. Dunn WB, Broadhurst D, Begley P, Zelena E, Francis-McIntyre S, Anderson N, Brown M, Knowles JD, Halsall A, Haselden JN, Nicholls AW, Wilson ID, Kell DB, Goodacre R; Human Serum Metabolome (HUSERMET) Consortium. Procedures for large-scale metabolic profiling of serum and plasma using gas chromatography and liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Nat Protoc. 2011 Jun 30;6(7):1060-83. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2011.335. > 2300 citations
3. Alimajstorovic Z, Mollan SP, Grech O, Mitchell JL, Yiangou A, Thaller M, Lyons H, Sassani M, Seneviratne S, Hancox T, Jankevics A, Najdekr L, Dunn W, Sinclair AJ. Dysregulation of Amino Acid, Lipid, and Acylpyruvate Metabolism in Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension: A Non-targeted Case Control and Longitudinal Metabolomic Study. J Proteome Res. 2023 Apr 7;22(4):1127-1137. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.2c00449.

Register your interest for this project

Where will I study?