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Systems biology approaches for functional assessment of the microbiome


About This PhD Project

Project Description

"The gut is inhabited by trillions of bacteria known to impact on health and disease. There is a growing body of evidence supporting the involvement of the gut microbiota in a number of health conditions, however, there is still much to learn regarding its capacity to affect host health, and the mechanisms in which these occur. Many gut microbiome research studies focus on compositional analysis to better understand the causal relationships between microbial communities and disease phenotypes. However, diversity and complexity is such, that community structure alone does not provide full understanding of microbial function.

Systems biology approaches provide an opportunity to study this unique complex gut ecosystem in more detail, and assess the impact of host-gut microbe interactions on health. The Food Microbial Sciences Unit (FMSU) at the University of Reading have extensive expertise and experience in studying the gut microbiome, and dietary intervention to improve health through modulation of the microbiota (e.g. using pre-, pro- and synbiotics). A range of state of the art analytical techniques (including metagenomics and metabolomics) are used, followed by computational approaches for functional assessment of the microbiome. Enquiries are welcomed from self-funded students to focus on studying host-gut microbe interactions using this framework. There may be an opportunity for a funded position in the near future.

Applicants should hold (or expect to hold by October 2018), a Masters postgraduate degree (or equivalent overseas qualification) in a life or physical sciences subject, biomedical sciences, bioinformatics or an equivalent field. Outstanding candidates possessing an appropriate undergraduate degree may also be considered.

For informal enquiries and application please contact the supervisors listed above. Applications should include a covering letter, full CV (stating your nationality) and contact details of two referees one of whom must be academic. Expected start date: 1st October 2018."

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