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PLEASE NOTE: The application period has closed for this round of PhD studentships. Please re-visit our website in the coming months to discover future opportunities to join the NIHR Southampton BRC.

Four-year PhD to assess the development of mother-offspring multi’omic “handprints” that predict child phenotypes

Four-year PhD to assess the development of mother-offspring multi’omic “handprints” that predict child phenotypes



The project

Strong evidence now supports a crucial role for early metabolomes in programming lifelong health. This project based in the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre provides an important opportunity to inform new interventions to promote healthy lifecourse trajectories in the next generation.

We are seeking a talented individual to help us examine the interplay between the human mother-offspring microbial-derived metabolomes during critical windows in the first 1,000-days post-conception, and define how these shape offspring metabolic, immune and neurobehavioural outcomes.


The skills required

You will undertake a series of studies, working with our metabolomic and epigenetic laboratories, acquiring metabolomic data on stored biosamples and using existing data from the published NiPPeR preconception/pregnancy randomised controlled nutritional trial. You will develop metabolomic and epigenetic analytical and bioinformatic skills during the PhD.


With appropriate training and supervision, you will analyse secondary data from participants who have taken part in a range of nutritional, clinical and laboratory assessments within the NiPPeR trial.


The candidate

You are a UK graduate in either biomedical sciences, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, or mathematics with an interest or experience in bioinformatics as applied to nutrition, metabolomics or epigenetics. You will meet the University of Southampton’s person specification for PhD candidates, which incorporates a full equality, diversity, and inclusivity policy.


The supervisory team

Your supervisory team of world-leading clinical scientists will be led by Professors Keith Godfrey and Jonathan Swann, bridging the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre and the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Centre, Institute of Developmental Sciences and Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton. You will be based in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton.


If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Professors Keith Godfrey ( or Jonathan Swann (


How to apply

Complete the University of Southampton online application linked below. Please note:

  • You must state project code NLM4 and the Nutrition, Lifestyle and Metabolism theme in the Personal Statement section of the online application.

  • In the supervisor field on the application form please quote reference BRC/UoS/202223/842. You do not need to identify a supervisor.

  • The online application references an Application Assessment Fee which is not required for this BRC project as it is a postgraduate research degree.

  • Applicants must hold a 1st class or 2:1 degree in a relevant discipline and/or second degree with a related Masters. Only UK students are eligible to apply in this current round. 

  • Stipend will be at least equivalent to UK Research Council maintenance stipend rates (~£16,000). Self-funding students may also be accepted.


If you require further information, please contact Kay Mitchell, Senior Research Manager, at, or Karl Staples, Academic Career Development Lead, at Application enquiries can be directed to for the Faculty of Medicine.

Closing date for applications: Friday 15th July 2022

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