The role of the gut microbiome in liver disease: development op bioinformatic approaches to ident...

KU Leuven
March 01 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

For the Laboratory of Viral Metagenomics (part of the Laboratory of Clinical and Epidemiological Virology at the Rega Institute) we are looking for a motivated PhD student with a background or great interest in bioinformatics. The Laboratory of Viral Metagenomics is a young dynamic lab headed by Prof. Jelle Matthijnssens since October 2015. We are part of the Laboratory of Clinical and Epidemiological Virology at the Rega Institute, under the umbrella of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the KU Leuven. Our lab counts 5 PhD students and a lab technician, and we are looking for an additional highly motivated PhD student with a background in bioinformatics.

The proposed PhD position is part of the MicrobLiver project awarded to Prof. Torben Hanssen by the Novo Nordisk Foundation  ( MicrobLiver deals with the physiological characterization of the human gut microbiota-liver axis, and its role in widespread metabolic disorders including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and alcoholic liver disease. For this project the Laboratory of Viral Metagenomics is responsible for the investigation of the virus component of the gut microbiome. The virome will be studied using a recently in-house developed metagenomics protocol (NetoVIR; to study the virome in stool samples using high-throughput Illumina Next Generation Sequencing technologies. These projects will results in billions of generated sequence reads, most of which belong to known and unknown bacteriophages, in addition to eukaryotic viruses. The further analysis and characterization of these data is hampered by several factors including lack of complete, curated databases. The PhD candidate will be responsible for the development of a strategy to identify and characterize these novel viruses to generate a viral genome catalogue for subsequent studies. Furthermore, multiple strategies to link identified phage to their host bacterium will be evaluated. The student will also be involved in the integration of the virome data with bacteriome, fungome, metabolome and proteome data generated by other groups in the consortium.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess

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