The oral-gut axis: Interactions between the oral and gut microflora and their role in health of the host
An opportunity to apply for a funded full-time PhD in the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences at UWE Bristol.
The expected start date of this studentship is 1 January 2023.
The closing date for applications is 19 August 2022.
Please note: out of the eight projects being advertised for the Dean’s Studentship, the faculty will fund four. The projects for funding will be selected based on the merit of applicants following the process outlined below.
There will be a two stage interview process. Supervisory teams of each project will shortlist the best candidates for an initial interview with the supervisory team. Following this first interview, two candidates will be selected; a first-choice candidate and a reserve candidate. The first-choice candidate (or the reserve, if the first-choice candidate is unavailable) will then be interviewed by a Faculty Panel (the second interview). The Faculty Panel will be chaired by Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean and will consist of senior Faculty staff. The Faculty level interview will take place on the 31 October 2022.
Unsuccessful candidates will have the opportunity for self-funded places.
An opportunity has arisen for a three-year studentship starting on 1 January 2023 in the Department of Applied Sciences funded by the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences. The project is entitled “The oral-gut axis: Interactions between the oral and gut microflora and their role in health of the host”. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses a major threat to human health globally that needs urgent attention. One way of addressing this problem is the application of appropriate probiotics, which are specifically selected not to contribute to the spread of AMR and to the transfer of antibiotic resistance.
The aim of this PhD studentship is to develop a new generation of gut probiotics such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii (Fp) that could be used as a non-invasive treatment to control periodontal disease. Periodontal disease affects about 20-50% of global population and studies have shown a 3-fold increase in diabetics that has an impact on these patient’s glycaemic control. Currently, the physiological properties of Fp remain unclear and an approach based on volatolomics has not been attempted.
This project is focused on:
- The volatile organic compound (VOCs) profiles from each periodontal pathogen grown individually using our in vitro perfusion biofilm system and the Selected Ion Flow Mass Tube Mass Spectrometer (SIFT-MS);
- The VOC profiles from each periodontal pathogen grown in association with probiotics in vitro;
- The antimicrobial activity of Fp on periodontal pathogens;
- Antimicrobial resistance gene screening and bioinformatics applied to the oral and gut microbiome
- Examine the safety of Fp by studying its cell toxicity on oral mucosal cells and achieve maximum safety requirements such as antimicrobial resistance and absence of lytic and adhesion capacities.
This project will provide evidence of the efficacy of Fp on periodontal pathogens and in collaboration with our long-term partners Colgate-Palmolive, USA, will pave the way for the development of new oral formulations containing this probiotic.
This studentships will be for UK/EU students only, including those with permanent leave to remain in the UK.
For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Dr Saliha Saad at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a Dean’s PhD studentship and is funded for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax-exempt stipend, which is currently £16,602 per annum.
In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years. The studentship will also fully cover the research costs (consumables budget).
Applicants should submit their CV and a covering letter, explaining their research experiences and academic knowledge related to the project in general and to the studentship in particular. Contact details of two referees (name and email) should be included.
This studentship will be for UK/EU and International students, including those with permanent leave to remain in the UK.
Applicants must have a Degree in Biomedical Sciences. A Master’s degree or an MRes is desirable. We are looking for self-motivated researcher with strong organisational, technical and analytical skills to address the overall aims of the project in an innovative manner.
A recognised English language qualification is required.
How to apply
Please submit your application online. When prompted use the reference number 2223-JAN-HAS09.
Supporting documentation: you will need to upload your degree certificates and transcripts and if required, your proof of English language proficiency as attachments to your application so please have these available when you complete the application form.
References: you will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application. At least one referee must be an academic referee from the institution that conferred your highest degree. Your referee may be asked for a reference from the time you submit your application, so please ensure that your nominated referees are willing and able to provide references within 14 days of your application being submitted.
The closing date for applications is 19 August 2022.
Please note that the following selection process applies.
Interviews by the prospective supervisory team will take place in the week commencing 12 September 2022. If you have not heard from us by that date, we thank you for your application but on this occasion you have not been successful.
Following the initial interview, two candidates will be selected; a first-choice candidate and a reserve candidate. The first-choice candidate (or the reserve, if the first-choice candidate is unavailable) will then undertake a second interview by a senior faculty panel on the 31 October 2022. The PhD will be awarded following a successful second interview.