PhD Studentship at University of Nottingham - UK

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posted: June 10 2010


Metabolomics of host-parasite interactions: Host development and the effects of venom


Metabolomics is the study of the low molecular weight metabolites (typically ≤1 kDa) within a cell, tissue or biofluid. The pattern of metabolites within a biological sample can provide considerable insight into an organism’s response to disease, toxicity or genetic manipulation. This is achieved by measuring multiple endogenous metabolites in a biofluid or tissue which can provide a description of the organism’s functional metabolic phenotype. Environmental metabolomics uses metabolomics techniques to characterise the interactions of living organisms with their environment and is a young, but rapidly growing, sub-discipline of metabolomics.

Parasitoid wasps in the family Bethylidae attack and kill the larvae of many insects that are pests of major crops, and have thus been used as agents of biological pest control, which is a sustainable solution to pest management. The adult female wasp lays its eggs on a ‘host’ after first stinging and paralysing it with venom. The eggs hatch and the wasp larvae consume the host, killing it in the process. This project will apply NMR spectroscopy based metabolomics to the study of how metabolic state changes with key aspects of host life-history prior to parasitoid attack. These will then be related to host acceptance by parasitoids and subsequent offspring development.

The supervisors of this project are experts in their respective fields making this project a synergistic combination of metabolomics and host-parasitoid life-history studies representing truly interdisciplinary research between the Schools of Biosciences and Pharmacy.


Provided from a collaborative award between the School of Pharmacy and the School of Biosciences. University fees are covered by the award and a tax-free stipend of £13600 in the first year and increasing in years two and three, will be paid directly to the student to cover living expenses.


Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain a First Class or Upper Second Class BSc (Hons) in Biology, Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences, Ecology, Entomology or related subject or MSc in similar fields. However, applicants holding an MSc together with a third class degree will not be considered. Practical experience in any of the following areas: bioanalysis, NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry or chemometrics would be an advantage, though a keen interest and willingness to learn is more essential.


The position is available to UK citizens and other EU citizens who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years. Please note that due to the nature of the funding for this project, applicants from outside the EU can not be considered.


The studentship will be supervised by and have access to excellent facilities at both the School of Pharmacy on the main University campus of Nottingham University and the School of Biosciences on the Sutton Bonington campus of Nottingham University.


Please apply either by 1) e-mail to Clare Daykin ( with a current CV and covering letter, or 2) posting CV and cover letter to:

Dr. Clare Daykin 
School of Pharmacy 
Boots Science Building  
University of Nottingham 
University Park 
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