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Dissecting staphylococcal interactions in the human skin microbiome: insights for novel personal care products (Liverpool, iCASE award)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M J Horsburgh
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Human skin is extensively colonised by microbiota that contribute to its health and help to maintain barrier function from pathogens. Within this microbial community certain species contribute to malodour while proliferation of others is implicated with skin inflammatory conditions, such as dandruff and dermatitis. The development of novel products that resolve these is a commercial aim of Unilever. This studentship seeks to increase our understanding of bacterial species interactions between other bacteria and the host, with the aim of generating insights into how bacterial communities are structured and how this could be exploited. The studentship will offer training in advanced methods, including next generation sequencing and bioinformatics, 3D skin models and molecular microbiology. These methods will be used to dissect species interactions between species in the genus Staphylococcus to increase our understanding of the mechanisms they use to compete. A key mechanism they deploy is the secretion of antimicrobial peptides and we have uncovered variation in the response and regulation mechanisms that human skin colonising Staphylococcus species use to promote their success in the niche.

For further information see the website: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/integrative-biology/

To apply: Please submit a full CV and covering letter directly to [email protected]

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.


Libberton, B and Coates, R and Brockhurst, M and Horsburgh, MJ (2014) Evidence that intraspecific trait variation among nasal bacteria shapes the distribution of Staphylococcus aureus. Infection and Immunity, 82 (9) 3811-3815.

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