Recruitment to the NRPDTP and iCASE programmes are now open. The deadline for applications is the 27th November 2017.

02 / 10 / 2017

Exploring the role of secretion systems in beneficial microbiota members (HALL_Q18DTP)

how to apply

We are looking for a creative and motivated PhD candidate to join a dynamic, multi-disciplinary research team investigating the early life microbiota and host interactions. This position is within Dr Lindsay Hall's lab ( at the Quadram Institute, which will move (mid-2018) into a new interdisciplinary research building at the forefront of a new era in gut microbes, food, and health research (, thus providing an excellent platform for a starting scientific career.

Background: Early establishment of beneficial pioneer microbiota members, including Bifidobacterium species, positively influences microbial community composition and host immune development. Thus, understanding the bifidobacterial factors that modulate these dynamics is pivotal for predicting impact on health and developing new therapies.

Microbial-derived secreted compounds and metabolites play a critical role in influencing host and microbe interactions. Recently, a newly defined secretion system; Type 7 secretion system (T7SS), has been described in pathogenic bacteria, where it plays a role in pathogenesis, via secretion of immune-modulatory and anti-bacterial substrates. Interestingly, Bifidobacterium species have homologues of this system, however there are currently no studies exploring the role of T7SS in this beneficial bacterium.

The goal of this PhD studentship is to develop new molecular tools for Bifidobacterium, i.e. innovative CRISPR-Cas9 systems (in collaboration with Prof Hutchings group at the University of East Anglia) and use molecular microbiology techniques, model colon systems (including next generation sequencing and bioinformatics) and cell culture models to probe the role of the T7SS in microbial community development and immune modulation.