• University of Glasgow Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of Manchester Featured PhD Programmes
  • UNSW Australia Featured PhD Programmes
  • FindA University Ltd Featured PhD Programmes
  • Heriot-Watt University Featured PhD Programmes
  • University College London Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of Birmingham Featured PhD Programmes
Loughborough University Featured PhD Programmes
FindA University Ltd Featured PhD Programmes
University of Glasgow Featured PhD Programmes
University of Liverpool Featured PhD Programmes
Life Science Zurich Graduate School Featured PhD Programmes

Discovering molecular mechanisms of toxicity and translating towards a regulatory framework: A metabolomics approach

Project Description

The University of Birmingham (UoB) is an international leader in ENVIRONMENTAL OMICS and TOXICOLOGY, by pooling its expertise and capacity in omics, bioinformatics and computer science with specialists in environmental stress and toxicology, systems biology, nanosciences, health policy and chemical regulation.

Our mission statement commits to offer leadership in omics- and bioinformatics-based solutions, enabling evidence-based policy for the 21st-century problems of safeguarding environmental and human health. Our solution applies state-of-the-art methods and technology in analytical chemistry, (eco)toxicology, systems biology, and predictive analytics to dramatically increase the pace of completing a comprehensive Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) map and decrease the cost of evaluating chemical risks.

The central argument for UoB’s research excellence in Environmental Omics is that unlike traditional toxicology efforts (which are activated in response to specific health crises), our solution at using "omics" and bioinformatics for accelerating the discovery of molecular pathways that are predictive of the health effects of thousands of chemicals and chemical mixtures.

METABOLOMICS is a well established technology for discovering the molecular mechanisms of how humans respond to drugs and disease. Yet it has not been thoroughly investigated in terms of its ability to discover molecular mechanisms of toxicity, and subsequently the translation of these mechanisms towards regulatory toxicology.

This PhD will focus on the application of metabolomics to mechanistic toxicology within a series of well defined case studies, and working with a network of scientists in Europe, to translate the derived knowledge towards regulatory toxicology.

Training and skills:
We will provide training in metabolomics and toxicology. The student will be integrated within pre-existing cohorts of PhD students and researchers, led by a highly experienced supervisor, providing an exceptional training environment. This comprises the community of ca. 25 scientists at Birmingham in the growing Systems Toxicology team.

Scientific excellence of the University:
The School of Biosciences at Birmingham is a world leader in metabolomics and more broadly environmental ‘omics research. The School achieved an impressive performance in the Research Excellence Framework 2014, rising up to 6th place for the quality of its research within the elite, research-focused Russell Group of UK universities.

Are you the right person for this PhD?
We seek an excellent candidate with a high quality undergraduate or Masters degree (can be pending) in fields such as (bio)analytical chemistry, pharmacology, forensics or toxicology, who has a passion to apply state-of-the-art metabolomics approaches to 21st century challenges in human and environmental health.


Recent representative papers from Viant’s research team:

A. D. Southam, R. J. M. Weber, J. Engel, M. R. Jones, M. R. Viant, A complete workflow for high-resolution spectral-stitching nanoelectrospray direct infusion mass spectrometry-based metabolomics and lipidomics. Nature Protocols 12(2):255-273. 10.1038/nprot.2016.156.

J. Zhang, M. A. Abdallah. T. D. Williams. S. Harrad. J. K. Chipman. M. R. Viant, Gene expression and metabolic responses of HepG2/C3A cells exposed to flame retardants and dust extracts at concentrations relevant to indoor environmental exposures. Chemosphere 144, 1996-2003 (2016).

N. S. Taylor, R. Merrifield, T. D. Williams, J. K. Chipman, J. R. Lead, M. R. Viant, Molecular toxicity of cerium oxide nanoparticles to the freshwater alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is associated with supra-environmental exposure concentrations. Nanotoxicology 10, 32-41 (2016).

A. Southam, A. Lange, R. Al-Salhi, E. Hill, C. Tyler, M. R. Viant, Distinguishing between the metabolome and xenobiotic exposome in environmental field samples analysed by direct-infusion mass spectrometry based metabolomics and lipidomics. Metabolomics 10, 1050-1058 (2014).

J. A. Kirwan, R. J. M. Weber, D. I. Broadhurst, M. R. Viant, Direct infusion mass spectrometry metabolomics dataset: a benchmark for data processing and quality control. Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific Data 1, Article 140012 (2014).

K. L. Poulson-Ellestad, C. M. Jones, J. Roy, M. R. Viant, F. M. Fernández, J. Kubanek, B. L. Nunn, Metabolomics and proteomics reveal impacts of chemically mediated competition on marine plankton. Proceedings National Academy Sciences 111, 9009-9014 (2014).

W. B. Dunn, A. Erban, R. J. M. Weber, D. J. Creek, M. Brown, R. Breitling, T. Hankemeier, R. Goodacre, S. Neumann, J. Kopka, M. R. Viant, Mass appeal: metabolite identification in mass spectrometry-focused untargeted metabolomics. Metabolomics 9, S44-66 (2013).

M. R. Viant, and U. Sommer, Mass spectrometry based environmental metabolomics: A primer and review. Metabolomics 9, S144-158 (2013).

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 42.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

Share this page:

Cookie Policy    X