How cells communicate in the gut to fight infection (KORCSMAROS_E18DTP2)

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

Upon infection, various cells are activated in the gut to overcome pathogens. One such cell type is called Paneth cell, which produces peptides that could kill or limit the growth of bacterial cells. Some pathogens, like Salmonella target specifically Paneth cells to increase the success of the infection. Previously it was found that after Salmonella infection, intestinal stem cells start producing more Paneth cells. However, how the infected Paneth cells “inform” the stem cells that they need reinforcement is not yet known.

This PhD project aims to identify pathways in Paneth cells and in stem cells essential for this cell-cell communication. Experimental approaches, using a novel mice model and performing single-cell transcriptomics will be combined with pathway analysis. The predictions of the computational work will be validated with molecular and cell biology techniques. The student will be co-supervised by Tamas Korcsmaros having extensive experience on signalling network studies and data integration, and Prof. Alastair Watson an internationally known expert of intestinal epithelial crypt research.

The PhD student will have opportunity to learn novel technologies, including single cell sequencing to grow and develop to be an independent and successful researcher, who enjoys working on scientific problems in a multidisciplinary environment. In the former group of the primary supervisor, several students have already been successfully trained to carry out computational works independently, indicating the availability of necessary training experience. The student will also receive project-related trainings at the UEA and QI to work with mice strains, utilize microbiology and molecular biology techniques, infection assays and fluorescence microscopy.

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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