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

Earlham Institute
October 05 2017
Life Sciences, Biology
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

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.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 9th, 10th or 11th January 2018.

The Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4 year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Funding notes

Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,553pa - 2017/8), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate, and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships, which when combined will equal a full studentship. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements. Details on eligibility for funding on the BBSRC website:

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess

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