Fully Funded Studentship Role of General Stress Response in Escherichia coli gut colonisation (LUCCHINI_F14DTP)

Institute of Food Research – School of Biological Sciences (UEA)

29 November 2013. Available from 1 October 2014.

Dr Sacha Lucchini


The Project:

Escherichia coli is an important bacterium that can be found in the gastrointestinal tract of most humans, where it is the dominant facultative anaerobe. While most strains are harmless commensals and can have a beneficial role by producing vitamins and preventing pathogenic bacteria from colonising, a number of strains can be harmful pathogens. Pathogenic E. coli are generally associated with diseases such as diarrhoea and urinary-tract infections. However, a particular group of E. coli strains that is often found in healthy humans, and was therefore classified as harmless, has been recently linked with colon cancer and inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s Disease.

The aim of this project is to characterise these newly described E. coli strains and to understand the molecular mechanisms enabling them to stably colonise the healthy and inflamed GI-tract. The identification and characterisation of the genetic factors conferring a competitive advantage will be facilitated by the presence at IFR of a large collection of well-characterised E. coli strains.

The student will take advantage of state-of-the-art research facilities present at IFR and NRP and will use a wide range of approaches incorporating molecular biology, comparative genomics, bacterial physiology and infection biology. Presentations of results at international conferences will be encouraged.

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Entry Requirements:

2:1 or 2:2 plus Masters. English Language – IELTS 6.5 overall with 6 in each category.


Due to funding restrictions funding for PhD studentships from BBSRC is available to successful candidates who meet the UK Research Council eligibility criteria including the 3-year UK residency requirements. These requirements are detailed in the BBSRC eligibility guidelines:


In most cases UK and EU nationals who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the course are eligible for a full-award. Other EU nationals may qualify for a fees only award. All candidates should check to confirm their eligibility for funding.

The current stipend for 2013/14 is £13,726 per annum.

Making Your Application:

For further information and to apply, please visit the ‘How to Apply’ page on our website by clicking Apply.

Additional Information:

In keeping with the postgraduate training policy of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) all students recruited onto this programme will be required to undertake a three months internship during the second or third year of their study. The internship will offer exciting and invaluable experience of work in an area outside of research, and full support and advice will be provided by a professional team from the UEA.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) – a collaboration between the Norwich Biosciences Institutes and the University of East Anglia.  Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the Studentship Competition.  The interview dates will be the 14th and 15th January 2014.

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