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Type 1 Resistant Starch: A journey through the gut (EDWARDSQ20CASE)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, November 25, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Most adults in the UK are overweight or obese, and the food industry are urgently seeking to develop healthier processed foods. One solution is to replace ‘available starch’ in the diet with ‘resistant starch’ that is not digested to glucose in the upper-gut. In this project you will study the effect of plant cells – a source of Type 1 Resistant Starch (RS1) - on the colonic microbiome and share the findings with the industrial partner, AB Mauri, who are global leaders in Bakery ingredients.

You will join an innovative research group studying nutrient bioavailability in the human gut, and interact with experts in translational microbiome research. Laboratory training in physical and biochemical techniques, microbiology and bioinformatics will be provided. There are opportunities to participate in international conferences, and you will gain experience communicating scientific results to different audiences and writing manuscripts for publication in high quality journals. You will also gain exposure to strategic innovation, and research and development within a global company.

This project will determine mechanisms controlling digestion of RS1-containing plant cells through the gut. You will subject starch-rich materials to the latest biochemical models simulating the human gut and collect samples to monitor digestion and fermentation progress. You will apply analytical techniques (LC-MS, confocal microscopy etc.) to monitor metabolite formation and structural changes, then combine this with metagenomic sequencing and bioinformatics to study the effects on the microbiome. There are further opportunities to undertake studies with human participants and/or pursue therapeutic applications.

We seek an inquisitive, proactive student who is interested in food and the gut, with a degree in biochemistry, microbology or similar subject.

Whilst some knowledge of carbohydrate fermentation is highly desirable, a scientific mindset and a willingness to learn and engage in inter-disciplinary and industry-facing research is most essential.

This CASE project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 7th, 8th or 9th January 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:

Funding Notes

For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website: View Website. Full Studentships cover a stipend of £17,009pa (2019/0 rate: £15,009pa & £2,000pa CASE stipend), 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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