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Understanding the chicken intestinal microbiome: towards a rational approach to feed-based interventions (Liverpool, iCASE award)

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  • Full or part time
    Prof P Wigley
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Understanding the gut microbiome and its contribution to health is a major current research area in both human and animal health. Chickens, which are the most numerous of all livestock in the UK, have particular problems with gut health and infection of enteric pathogens such as Salmonella and Campylobacter that affect both the health of the animal and may also be transmitted via food to humans. Previously antimicrobials were used to promote growth and help reduce enteric infections, but their use was banned in the EU in 2006 and there are calls for the US and other countries to follow suit. Feed additives including probiotic bacteria are used extensively as an alternative to antimicrobial drugs but their use is largely empirical and we little idea how they impact on the microbiome and subsequently on the health of the animal. In this project we will determine how the microbiome of the chicken develops and how it is influenced by probiotics, feed additives, genetics and infection. This underpinning knowledge will allow a more rational approach to developing probiotics and feed additives that act to improve animal health and productivity whilst reducing the use of antimicrobials and reducing the risk of foodborne infection.

For further information see the website:

To apply:
Please submit a full CV and covering letter directly to [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year BBSRC iCASE studentship under the Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham DTP. The successful applicant will receive research costs, tuition fees and stipend (£14,057 for 2015-16). The PhD will start in September 2016. Applicants should have, or be expecting to receive, a 2.1 Hons degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. EU candidates must have been resident in the UK for 3 years in order to receive full support. There are 2 stages to the application process.


Patterns of genome evolution that have accompanied host adaptation in Salmonella (2015) Gemma C. Langridge, Maria C. Fookes, Thomas R. Connor, Theresa Feltwell, Nick Feasey, Bryony N. Parsons, Helena M.B. Seth-Smith, Lars Barquist, Anna Stedman, Tom Humphrey, Paul Wigley, Sarah E. Peters, Duncan J. Maskell, Jukka Corander, Jose A. Chabalgoity, Paul Barrow, Julian Parkhill, Gordon Dougan & Nicholas R. Thomson. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112 863-868

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