PhD Studentship in Animal Nutrition Host Functional and Metabolic Responses to Nutritional Interventions

Supervisors:  Prof Martin J Woodward, Dr Marie Lewis and Dr Caroline Rymer

Project Overview: This project is part of a systems approach to understand the impact of increased dietary fibre in the development poultry. Approaches include metabonomic characterisation of colonocytes, liver, glycogen content of muscle, other tissues; expression of key effector genes (e.g. cytokines etc.) induced by changes of the diet and microbiota by RT-PCR and whole host cell mRNA profiling; intestinal morphology, barrier function, mucin production, intestinal physiology will be assessed and in vitro organ culture (IVOC) will be used to interrogate host responses in support of animal studies in which growth performance, general health status and behaviour will be measured. Companion studies will focus on the gut microbial metagenome by Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) approaches that will profile luminal and mucosally attached bacteria of the small intestine and caecum. There will be significant opportunity for interaction across disciplines. The work is supported by a newly refurbished Molecular Biology Suite and the Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF) which has a world class state of the art metabolite analysis capability. Animal accommodation is provided by the on-site farm. Prof Woodward who leads the ‘sustainable animal production’ research initiatives from the University’s Centre for Food Security (CFS) and who has over thirty years of experience in poultry health and vaccine development will supervise this project supported by an extensive network of experts across all relevant disciplines hosted by the Centre.

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Eligibility: Candidates should hold or expect to have gained at least an upper second class first degree in a relevant subject such as animal nutrition, food and nutrition, animal sciences, immunology, biochemistry or a veterinary degree. This studentship is only open to candidates from the UK/EU. 

Funding:  Stipends will be £16K tax free. The project will commence as of 1st January 2014 and be for three years duration.

Applications should be submitted in the form of a CV and a covering letter outlining motivation, interest and suitability for the project and should be sent directly and exclusively by e-mail to Prof Martin J Woodward ( by clicking on the Apply button below. A minimum of two named referees need to be supplied. For informal discussion about the project and training opportunities please contact Prof Martin J Woodward by e-mail ( or by telephone (44+ (0)118 378 8727).

Deadline:  The closing date is the 29th November. 

Interviews will be in early December.

Important notes: Please quote the reference GS13-172 in the ‘Scholarships applied for’ box which appears within the Funding Section of your on-line application. Also, where a candidate is successful in being awarded funding, this will be confirmed via a formal studentship award letter provided separately from any Offer of Admission and will be subject to standard checks for eligibility and other criteria. 

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