Antibiotics; good gone bad? Impact on liver immunity and susceptibility to injury


The use of antibiotics has saved millions of lives. Worryingly, antibiotics modify dramatically the composition of our intestinal microbiome and can lead to the permanent loss of certain species. The long-lasting effects of these important changes on human health remain largely unknown.

This project will focus on defining how antibiotics treatment affect the composition of the microbiome in the long-term and how this affects our health, with a main focus on the impact on liver metabolism and immunity. This will enable the PhD student to propose strategies to preserve liver function and overall whole-body health. The results obtained by the successful candidate will address fundamental questions and also have a translational impact with the potential to inform the use of antibiotics in the clinical setting.

This cross-disciplinary and collaborative project provides the unique opportunity for the successful candidate to receive broad training on ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ science techniques. The project will be supervised by a molecular biologist (Beraza) and co-supervised by a microbiologist (Hall) and a bioinformatician (Hildebrand). This team will train the PhD student in a series of preclinical in vivo models and molecular biology and immunology methodologies including, qPCR, western blot, ELISA and immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry (FACS). Metagenomics and metatranscriptomics analysis with state-of-the-art bioinformatics analytical tools will be used to characterise the intestinal microbiome.

This collaborative project will enable the student to work in different labs and research areas and to present her/his results to broad audiences in diverse conferences and meetings. The multidisciplinary nature of this project will contribute to build a broad network and will provide the student valuable transferable skills essential for the progression of her/his scientific career.

This project will be carried out at the Quadram institute, which combines research laboratories with clinical facilities, located at the core of the Norwich Research Park.