We are currently advertising National Productivity Investment Fund Industrial CASE studentships with a deadline of the 16th July 2018.

02 / 10 / 2017

Cutting-edge approaches to understand how gut microbes promote our health (KORCSMAROS_E18DTP1)

how to apply

Bifidobacteria has been highlighted as a protective agent against a number of health conditions, ranging from pathogen infection to Crohn's disease and asthma. Evidence suggests that Bifidobacteria can directly affect host processes in the gut. One such process is autophagy, a cellular degradation mechanism, known to be important for intestinal homeostasis (Nobel Prize 2016). However, we do not know the details how exactly Bifidobacteria can modulate autophagy. Studying these cross-kingdom connections will help us to understand the mechanims behind gut health benefits of commensal bacteria. To explore such a complex interplay novel approaches should be used, like systems biology, which has revolutionized our way of thinking about biological systems and allowed the identification of essential molecules at the systems-level.

In this PhD project, the student will work under the supervision of Tamas Korcsmaros, to examine the effect of Bifidobacteria genes on the host signalling network, especially on those pathways that control host autophagy in the gut. The Korcsmaros group combines wet lab and computational approaches to predict host-microbe interactions and experimentally validate them in intestinal cells using organoids. The PhD student will have opportunity to learn these computational techniques and experimental technologies, including working with gut organoids to grow and develop to be a happy, independent and successful researcher in the field of systems microbiology. The project co-supervisor is Lindsay Hall, Bifidobactaria expert, who will provide training at the new Quadram Institute on microbiology and molecular biology techniques as well as fluorescence microscopy studies.