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PhD Studentship (3 years) - Characterisation of the oral/skin microbiome in older adults

School of Biosciences

Location:  Aston University Main Campus
Basis:  Full Time
Closing Date:  23.59 hours GMT on Thursday 11 March 2021
Reference:  R210055
Release Date:  Friday 12 February 2021

Supervisor: Professor Anthony Hilton, Dr Tony Worthington, Dr James Brown

Project Reference: HLS_Hilton_Colgate

Key words: microbiology, microbiome, ageing, oral, skin

Applications are invited for a three year Postgraduate studentship, supported by the College of Health and Life Sciences and Colgate Palmolive, to be undertaken within the Biosciences Research Group at Aston University.  The successful applicant will join an established experimental group working on microbiology and ageing.

The position is available to start in July 2021. 

Financial Support

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the Home/EU fees rate, plus a maintenance allowance of at least £15,285 (subject to eligibility).

Overseas Applicants

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the Home fees rate plus a maintenance allowance of at least £15,285.

Overseas applicants may apply for this studentship but will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees. Currently the difference between ‘Home’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees is £13,443 in 2020/1.  As part of the application you will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or secured, this additional funding.

Background to the Project

Recent advances in high throughput sequencing techniques have facilitated the description of the microbiome with a wide range of applications. Current platforms enable the full molecular description of complex microbial communities and have furthered our understanding of the host microbiome interaction and the influence of the microbiota on health. Oral and skin microbiomes are rich and diverse and potentially associated with health and disease as we age. 

The student will work towards furthering our understanding of the oral/skin microbiome of older adults. Samples collected from older adults in a variety of community dwelling settings will be profiled for the bacterial taxa present in a population of adults.  Associated clinico-pathological information, including age, sex, frailty score, body composition and physical activity will be recorded. In addition to characterising the oral/skin microbiomes, cultivable populations will also be investigated and further characterised using phenotypic assays to assess characteristics of the microbiome associated with the same demographics described above.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have been awarded, or expect to achieve, a Masters degree in a relevant subject with a 60% or higher weighted average, and/or a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (or an equivalent qualification from an overseas institution) in biology, microbiology, biomedical science or a related area. Preferred skill requirements include knowledge/experience of microbiological techniques. 

Contact information

For formal enquiries about this project contact Professor Anthony Hilton at, or Dr Tony Worthington at, or Dr James Brown at

Submitting an application

Details of how to submit your application, and the necessary supporting documents can be found here.  

The application should be accompanied by a “research proposal” statement. An original proposal is not required as the initial scope of the project has been defined, candidates should take this opportunity to detail how their knowledge and experience will benefit the project and should also be accompanied by a brief review of relevant research literature.

Please include the supervisor name, project title and project reference in your Personal Statement.

If you require further information about the application process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team at 

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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



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