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The role of iron deficiency, micronutrient supplements and the host microbiome among infants in Peru: understanding the nutritional double burden

Project Description

An exciting opportunity to work on infant nutrition and global health alongside leading UK and Peruvian investigators.
Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). At Loughborough, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field and benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College.
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Full Project Detail:

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship based in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences funded by Loughborough University starting 1st October 2019. The PhD student will carry out an independent research project aligned with a 3-year UK Medical Research Council-funded project on Strategies to Improve Infant and Young Child Feeding in Peru (PI: Rousham). The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to data collection/analysis in Peru.

Peru has achieved significant reductions in undernutrition, particularly stunting, but a high prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia persists, affecting around 25% of infants/young children. With the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity, the population faces a nutritional double burden. Strategies to reduce anaemia include iron supplementation. Emerging evidence on iron supplementation, however, suggests that increases in colonic iron adversely affects the infant gut microbiome through reducing in beneficial gut bacteria. This may affect the regulation of immune, endocrine and metabolic host pathways. Thus, interventions to address anaemia need to consider the overall impacts on infant health.

This PhD studentship aims to enhance our understanding of the interaction between diet, anaemia and the gut microbiome in Peruvian infants. The research may involve observational, cross-sectional study designs, with potential to explore or design intervention studies.

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School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Human Nutrition, Food Science, Biosciences, Public Health or related subjects. A Master’s degree in a relevant subject and/or experience running human nutrition trials or fieldwork and Spanish language will be advantageous.

The successful candidate will be expected to have:
• excellent oral and written communication skills
• ability to critically appraise scientific methodology and data
• ability to work independently and as a member of a larger research team.

Contact details:

Name: Dr Emily Rousham
Email address:
Telephone number: +44 (0)1509 228812

How to apply:

Applications should be made online at Under programme name, select “School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences”. Please attach a CV and personal statement (one page maximum) detailing how your qualifications, experience and skills make you a suitable candidate.

Please quote reference number: SSEHS/ER

Application details:
Reference number: SSEHS/ER
Start date of studentship: 1st Oct 2019
Closing date of advert: Monday 24th June 2019
Interview date: Week beginning 8th July 2019

Funding Notes

The PhD studentship is for 3 years commencing from 1st October 2019. Due to funding restrictions, it will not be possible to extend the start date. The studentship provides a tax-free stipend of £14,777 per annum plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for 3 years. International students may apply however the total value of the studentship will be used to cover the International tuition fee only.

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