Phd position available in understanding the role of bacteriophages in natural microbial communities.

We have KESS funding for a new PhD project (Part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) through the European Union’s Convergence programme). This is working with an industrial partner Sarum Biosciences, looking at bacteriophages and how they may be used to regulate microbial communities. 

Project Description
The work to be carried out in this proposed studentship involves investigating the effect of phages on rumen function, with particular emphasis on identifying those which result in a reduction in methane emissions, an increase in digestibility of the feed and a beneficial change in the colonisation strategy of the rumen microbes on fresh forage. The goal is to identify phages that can be utilised as part of a feed additive strategy to create rumen conditions more conductive to increased productivity and lower methane emissions in ruminant production systems. 

The project will consist of four phases: 
1. Broad screening of phages on cultures of rumen bacterial and archaeal isolates 
2. Isolation and culturing of novel phages from the rumen 
3. Determination through in vitro simulations of the effect of phages on rumen traits such as methane emission and lactic-acid production. 
4. Quantification of the effect of phages on the natural colonisation of fresh forage by the rumen microbiome.

The prospective applicant should have a minimum of a 1st or good 2:1 in a relevant degree. Closing date 29th April 2016