Doctoral student in Medical Science - Prospective studies of the gut microbiome
Project title: Prospective studies of the gut microbiome in premature and healthy term infants: interactions with early life exposures and allergy development
Third-cycle studies are equivalent to four year full-time and lead to a Degree of Doctor. Those appointed to doctoral studentships shall primarily devote themselves to their studies. Those appointed to doctoral studentships may, however, work to a limited extent with educational tasks, research and administration. Before a PhD degree has been awarded, duties of this kind may not comprise more than 20 per cent of a full-time post.
The PhD education in Medical Science comprise carrying out a scientific project and completing at least 30 credits of courses at third-cycle level. The doctoral student must also write a scientific compilation thesis or monograph corresponding to at least 120 credits.
Project: The gut microbiota during infancy may play an important role for health, both during childhood and throughout life. On one hand, it may be important in educating the immune system, thereby protecting against development of immunoregulatory diseases such as allergy. Allergic diseases have dramatically increased in prevalence over the last few decades and are now at epidemic proportions. However, despite considerable research, the role of the gut microbiota in allergy remains unclear, limiting the development of preventative strategies.
On the other hand, gut bacteria are inflammatogenic and may drive life-threatening diseases in premature infants, with babies born extremely preterm at greatest risk. Necrotising enterocolitis and sepsis are leading causes of death, and gut dysbiosis has been implicated in the pathogenesis of both conditions. Routine antibiotic administration and the intensive care environment are known to disrupt normal bacterial colonization, but the influence of other perinatal factors on the gut microbiota remains poorly understood. A greater understanding of bacterial colonization in extremely preterm babies will provide a foundation for developing strategies to reduce morbidity and mortality in this vulnerable group.
The overall aim of this PhD project is to increase our understanding of how the gut microbiota is established during infancy in different populations, and how its composition and function may affect health. The first aim is to identify features of the infant gut microbiota that may protect against developing allergy. The second aim is to investigate how perinatal exposures affect the establishment of the gut microbiota in extremely preterm infants.
This project will be based on three prospective Swedish birth cohort studies, two of which investigated allergy outcomes in children born healthy at full term, and one which followed extremely preterm babies. Next Generation Sequencing of fecal samples will be used to characterize the gut microbiota, and its metabolic activity will be assessed by quantification of short chain fatty acids by gas chromatography. Data will be analyzed using SIMCA multivariate analysis software.
To be eligible for third-cycle studies, the applicant must meet both the general and specific entry requirements.
A person meets the general entry requirements for third-cycle studies if he or she:
1. has been awarded a second-cycle qualification
2. has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle, or
3. has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad
A person meets the specific entry requirements for third-cycle studies in Medical Science if he or she: has successfully completed the English B/6 course or is considered to have acquired equivalent knowledge through previous studies
For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.
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