PhD Studentship - Infant gut microbiome: a longitudinal analysis of relationships with feeding pract

Birmingham, West Midlands
07 Jun 2018
End of advertisement period
01 Jul 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Main Supervisor: Professor Jacqueline Blissett;

Associate Supervisors: Professor Anthony Hilton & Professor Amanda Wood

There is a growing awareness that the health of the human gut microbiome has implications for broader physical and mental health in adulthood. The establishment of a healthy human infant gut microbiome may be particularly important in determining long term developmental outcomes and may also impact food preference and choice. Using a unique combination of methods including microbiome profiling, MRI, standardised developmental assessments, questionnaire measures, and observations of parent-child feeding interactions, this project will examine the relationships between early brain development, breastfeeding and complementary feeding, gut microbiome development and later neurodevelopmental outcomes. This PhD opportunity will examine these relationships in a longitudinal study across the first two years of life.

The successful candidate will contribute to the recruitment and testing of infants within an existing longitudinal cohort. They will be working at the interface of psychology and microbiology, undertaking both laboratory-based work and working directly with infants and their families. This is a unique opportunity to work on a truly interdisciplinary project combining microbiology, psychology and human neuroscience.

Aston University was ranked 5th out of 94 UK Higher Education Institutions for research in Allied Health Professions (REF 2014) and was ranked 1st for research environment. Additional information about research in the School can be found at Informal enquiries can be made to Professor Jacqueline Blissett at:

Financial Support:

The studentship is open to Home/EU students only and comprises of a tax-free stipend at the 2018/19 RCUK rate of £14,777 per annum and payment of Home/EU tuition fees only. The studentship is available for three years, subject to satisfactory progress review at the end of the first year, with an anticipated registration of 1st October 2018.

Application Requirements:

- Eligible Applicants should hold at least a Bachelor (Hons.) Degree of either 1st Class/ 2.1 or MSc/MRes in a relevant subject.

- EU Applicants will need to demonstrate adequate proficiency in English Language skills, with a minimum overall score of 93 (Internet Based) (with a minimum score in each section of: R: 18, W: 23, L: 19 and S: 19) in TOEFL or IELTS with minimum marks of 6.0 in each section and an overall band of 6.5.

- To apply, please complete the on-line application form at: , choosing ‘Research Full-time Health Sciences September 2018’. Please quote Reference: ‘PhD_Oct 2018_Blissett’ on your application.

Further particulars and application forms are available in alternative formats on request i.e. large print, Braille, tape or CD Rom.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact HR via