We are currently advertising DTP and CASE studentships for October 2019 start. Information on deadline dates and how to apply can be accessed via the project details.

20 / 02 / 2019

Modulating the microbiota to improve vaccine responses (HALL_Q19DTPR)

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 (infant) microbiota and host interactions. This position is within Dr Lindsay Hall’s lab at the Quadram Institute Bioscience, a new interdisciplinary research institute 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: The resident gut microbiota plays an important role in the modulation of both local and systemic immune responses. However, the impact of the microbiome composition on vaccine efficacy remains a limited area of study. Significant differences exist in the induction of vaccine responses in geographically distinct populations, which may be linked to host genetics, nutritional state, exposure to related infectious agents and critically also differences in the resident microbiota. Notably, randomised clinical trials have shown that some probiotic strains, including Bifidobacterium, are able to increase specific immune responses against vaccine antigens. These findings suggest that the presence of specific microbiota members could contribute to a greater vaccine efficacy.

The goal of this PhD studentship is to use microbiology and immunology techniques to identify mechanisms underlying microbiota-vaccination responses and how microbiota therapies may help to augment vaccines responses in different infant cohorts. This studentship represents an excellent training module for a wide range of microbiology, immunology and some bioinformatic techniques utilising pre-clinical and clinical samples.