One of the greatest recent advances in life sciences has been the recognition of the complexity and importance of the vertebrate gut microbiome. Recent discoveries have pointed to unexpected associations between gut microbiota and a wide range of conditions in humans and animals including cancers, obesity and changes in behaviour. While the microbiome of some animal species such as mice, cows, monkeys and humans have been the subject of many studies, very little is known regarding the diversity and function of the squamate (lizards and snakes) microbiome. This project will use next generation sequencing methods to determine the microbiome of a unique and comprehensive collection of squamate gut specimens, including marine and terrestrial snakes, as well as subterranean and arboreal lizards and geckos. The overarching objective of this study is to identify links between squamate habitat and ecological roles and the structure and diversity of their microbiome structure. In addition, this study will allow the determination of the core microbiome of squamates, which will fill a critical knowledge gap regarding the evolution of vertebrate-microbiome interactions. This project is a collaboration between the NUI - Galway, University of Bristol, University of Adelaide and the South Australian Museum.
This project is suited to candidates with interests in microbiology, zoology, microbial evolution and microbial ecology. Experience or willingness to work with bioinformatics in Linux and statistics in R is essential, while training will be provided in metagenomic and microbiome sequence analysis and multivariate statistics. I am accepting potential candidates to carry out either a PhD or a postdoctoral project, depending on the candidate’s level and interests. Funding is competitive, and candidates must have an above average CV, preferably a top BSc/MSc grade (for PhD applications), and/or publications in peer-reviewed journals (for postdoctoral grant applications).
Prospective PhD or Postdoctoral candidates are advised to contact supervisory team to discuss applications to the Irish Research Council (http://www.research.ie/funding/). PhD candidates must be from a European Union country, however postdoctoral candidates can be from EU and non-EU countries.
Deadline for applications 25 of October 2018. For further information, contact Dr. Alexandre de Menezes firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Bruno Simões email@example.com.