Doctorado en nanotoxicología (UK) ~

4 de junio de 2016

Doctorado en nanotoxicología (UK)

Nanoparticle interactions with the invertebrate microbiome and their effects on immunity, gut function and ecological traits

Opportunity: PhD studentship available at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, near Oxford, UK on the Horizon 2020 Marie Curie European Training Network PANDORA that is investigating nanotoxicology impacts on immune function and health.

Project description: Host-associated micro-organisms (the ‘micorobiome’) make an important contribution to health and fitness. The host’s impact on its microbiota and, in turn, the microbiota impact on the host can be observed in all species. This ‘two way street’ forms the basis of a mutualism that, when disturbed, can impact on the immune system, disease status and physiology.

One of the major nanotechnology applications is as antimicrobial agents. The biocidal properties of such nanomaterials may result in undesired effects on non-target species when nanoparticles are released into the environment. One route for release of biocidal nanoparticles will be in wastes that are spread onto the land. Species feeding on these materials (e.g. detritivores) will hence be exposed to these different nanoparticle types. This exposure has the potential to change the types of microbial species found in guts of such organisms. Such changes have the potential to affect physiological process linked to key functions like tolerance to stress and immunity.

This PhD studentship will investigate the mechanisms by which biocidal nanoparticles interact with the gut microbiome of two detritivores, the earthworm Eisenia fetida and woodlouse Porcellio scaber. The student will learn to apply next generation DNA analysis to characterise nanoparticle effects on host microbiome (bacterial, fungal) diversity. Infection studies with pathogens will then be used to probe the nature and complexity of immune response and pathology through functional gene quantification (metagenomics) and gene expression analysis, as well as the use of metabolic markers of immune status and health. By learning and applying a range of advance bioassay and molecular techniques, the student will be help to establish a much greater understanding of biocidal nanoparticle exposure that will be relevant to wider aspects of nanotoxicology health effects research.

Funding: Fellowships for Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) are fundable for up to three-year periods. Candidates are paid according to Marie Curie standard rates, this being upwards of £35,000 for UK based students (twice the RCUK standard). There is also a large budget available for research consumables, training activities and conference attendance to support skills training and the project work.

Applicants must hold a degree qualification in a relevant subject. No Masters or direct research experience is explicitly required, although may be preferred.

To apply please send a CV and covering letter with details of two referees by email to

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