PhD Research Fellow in gut microbial community genomics (ref 201126)

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 14 Mar 2021

The candidate will be working as part of the RCN funded project “Antimicrobial resistance gene dynamics in the infant gut microbial ecosystem”. The bacteria in the human gut outnumber the total number of cells in the human body, and these microbes play important roles in health and disease. Establishment of the gut microbiome begins during the birthing process and develops throughout infancy to eventually form a mature and stable ecosystem. The infant gut microbiome is known to act as a reservoir for genes that can confer resistance to antibiotic drugs, and the spread of such genes to pathogens is considered one of the main problems in global public health. However, we still lack basic knowledge of the gut microbiome’s maturation process during infancy. In this project, we will develop detailed models of how the total bacterial gene repertoire of the infant gut microbiome develops over time, with a special focus on how antibiotic resistance genes accumulate in, and spread among, members of the gut bacterial community.

To this aim we will be using a combination of shotgun metagenome sequencing and single-cell and emulsion-PCR-based DNA sequencing approaches. The work will necessarily entail a strong bioinformatics component. A major goal of the PhD position is to will be to explore techniques for associating antibiotic resistance genes located on mobile genetic elements, like plasmids, with specific microbial taxa. Furthermore, it is of great interest to learn more about how such elements may spread in the gut microbial community. The project is a collaboration with Ullevål University Hospital, the University of Birmingham, and the University of Warwick.

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