PhD Studentship: Developing New Antimicrobial Peptides To Inhibit Gut Pathogens (NARBAD_Q18DTP)

University of East Anglia - School of Biological Sciences

Supervisor: Professor Arjan Narbad

Project description

There is an urgent need to discover new antimicrobials to combat the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, which is now a problem of global importance. Lantibiotics are small antimicrobial peptides produced by some bacteria and can kill important bacterial pathogens. Our gut harbours a complex microbial community that is now recognised to play a key role in our health and wellbeing. The natural lantibiotic production by the gut bacteria may help to keep a balance between species, maintaining a healthy diversity. We have recently isolated novel lantibiotic peptides produced by a gut bacterium that can inhibit food poisoning bacteria and gut pathogens. We want to understand at a molecular level how lantibiotic biosynthesis and immunity is regulated and how to improve its production. The project will also investigate whether these peptides can act as a signalling molecules in the gut environment. We will also determine the impact of these peptides on the structure and function of the gut microbiome using state of the art in vitro fermentation colon models and advanced metagenomic and metabolomic techniques.

This project will provide the student with training in a wide range of techniques from microbiology and molecular biology to peptide analysis, in vitro fermentation, DNA based molecular profiling and protein biochemistry. The student will join a dynamic multinational group focussing on understanding and manipulating the gut microbiota, and will have the opportunity to work in the rapidly expanding fields of antimicrobial discovery and bacterial interactions. We are looking for a highly self-motivated individual who is capable of independent thinking with an aptitude for laboratory work and a strong interest antimicrobials.

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.

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

Person specification: Standard minimum entry requirements: UK 2:1 or equivalent.

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:

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