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Understanding the role of gut bacterial and viral communities in disease progression in the preterm infant (HLS/SE/DRFAPP7P/63588)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Lanyon
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) is a life-threatening gastrointestinal (GI) emergency in preterm infants. The disease is associated with severe sepsis, intestinal perforation and significant morbidity and mortality. It is postnatally acquired and has not been identified in stillborn or infants prior to initiation of feeding. The pathophysiology of the disease is not fully understood but it is thought to be associated with; the colonisation of a certain bacterial populations, viral infection, prematurity of the GI tract and immune system, or a culmination of these factors. NEC is also linked with rapid infant feeding, gestational age and very low birth weight. Outbreaks on neonatal care units do occur, which could infer the link to a microbial/viral infection. During infection, the gut can become distended through intestinal gas production and inflammation of the tissue leads to hypoxic-ischemic injury. The immaturity of the intestinal tract in terms of motility, digestion, circulatory regulation and intestinal epithelial barrier function can result translocation of microbial species directly to the bloodstream and can lead to systemic immune response and sepsis where incidence of mortality is ~25%. Other factors implicated included exposure to the neonatal intensive care unit; which may lead to acquisition of hospital strains of bacteria, antibiotic and antifungal treatments, long term placement of medical devices and other compounding variables that may influence the microbial populations and thus impact on disease progression.

Identification of viral, bacterial and phage populations in the GI tract of neonates will further our understanding of the role of the microbial communities in disease pathogenesis. This PhD will analyse both metagenomic and viral deep genetic sequencing data to aid characterisation of the microbiota associated with NEC and will describe the microbial and viral communities in preterm/VLBW infants longitudinally to help characterise community dynamics between healthy and diseased states

Informal Enquiries
Enquiries regarding this studentship should be made to: title name & email address
Dr Clare Lanyon
[email protected]

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply/

Please ensure you quote the advert reference above on your application form.

Eligibility
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply/

Please ensure you quote the advert reference above on your application form.

How to Apply
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply/

Please ensure you quote the advert reference above on your application form.

Funding Notes

This studentship is only open to self-funding candidates. Self-funding candidates are expected to pay University fees and to provide their own living costs. In addition, a ‘bench fee’ will have to be paid to cover project running costs (at a level that will be determined specifically for each project).

References

Stewart C, Marrs E, Magorrian S, Nelson A, Lanyon C, Perry J, Embleton N, Cummings S, Berrington J. Preterm gut microbiota: changes associated with necrotising enterocolitis and infection. 2012 Acta pediatrica 101 (11) 112-117

Stewart CJ, Nielson A, Scribbins D, Marrs E, Lanyon C, Perry J, Embleton ND, Cummings SP and Berrington JE. Bacterial and fungal viability in the preterm gut: NEC and sepsis 2013 Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed fetalneonatal-2012-302119

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