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The gut microbiome and inflammaging (CARDINGQ20CASE)

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  • Full or part time
    Prof S Carding
    Dr A Parker
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Dementia and early onset neurological disease has overtaken respiratory infectious disease as a leading cause of death in the UK and is a priority for UK and international government health departments. A distinctive feature of ageing is immune senescence and the functional decline of the immune system, which is associated with low grade chronic inflammation (inflammaging) that together compromises host defences and the ability to mount effective responses to persistent infections in the elderly. The gut is the largest immune organ in the body and age-related changes in the makeup and function of resident gut microbes (the microbiota) have been linked with immune senescence and increased susceptibility to infection. However, it is not known if microbial dysbiosis and age-associated alterations in the intestinal microbiota are a cause of immune senescence. This PhD studentship aims to address this question by investigating in a primate model of human ageing how age-related changes in the intestinal microbiota contribute to immune senescence and chronic inflammaging in old age, by evaluating microbiome targeted interventions to redress immune senescence.

(1) Determining how the intestinal microbiome changes with age in young, ageing and elderly animals using whole genome metagenomic sequencing and immune profiling and function studies to develop a comprehensive picture of the dynamics of the microbiome and immune function during healthy ageing.
(2) Evaluating microbiota-targeted therapy including microbiota replacement to slow or halt the progression of immune senescence (subject to Home Office approval).

This collaborative project between the Quadram Institute (QI) and Public Health England (PHE) provides a unique opportunity to undertake cutting edge research in ageing and the microbiome, and to receive training in in vivo models, the microbiome, histopathology, immunology, and bioinformatics within a supportive and vibrant community of scientists and PhD students at the QI and PHE.

This CASE project has been selected for funding by the Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on Friday 24 April 2020.

The NRPDTP offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4 year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

We strongly encourage applicants from black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds and welcome applications from all protected groups as defined by the Equality Act 2010. Appointment will be made on merit.

Funding Notes

For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website: Full Studentships cover a stipend (2019/0 rate: £15,009pa), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

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