Carbohydrate utilisation by the beneficial microbiota genus Bifidobacterium for improved health outcomes

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Graduate Office


Within our gut we host a wide range of microbes (termed microbiota) which are essential for our health and wellbeing. One of the dominant microbial genera which have been identified as central to maintaining good health is Bifidobacterium, a key carbohydrate degrader. However, efforts to use Bifidobacterium to improve health have achieved limited success, with a stumbling blocks being our limited understanding of the mechanism by which different species of Bifidobacterium utilise carbohydrates.

Focussing on starch, the goal of this project is to elucidate the mechanism by which different Bifidobacterium species degrade carbohydrate, and the role of the physical structure of starch in influencing interactions with different Bifidobacterium species. This will be assessed using microbial growth assays and K.O. analysis, alongside bioinformatics analysis of transcriptional data. This knowledge will then be taken forward to assess the effectiveness of Bifidobacterium strains at remodelling the microbiota in models of the lean and obese gut microbiota.

This PhD studentship represents an excellent training module for a wide range of bioinformatic techniques in tandem with microbiology methodologies including: next generation DNA sequencing, bacterial culturing, model colon systems and molecular mutagenesis techniques.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011216/1 30/09/2015 29/09/2023
2115983 Studentship BB/M011216/1 30/09/2018 30/03/2023 Molly Millar