Funded PhD Position in Human nutrition, digestion, metabolism, and the gut microbiome at the University of Otago, New Zealand

Funded PhD Position in Human nutrition, digestion, metabolism, and the gut microbiome at the University of Otago, New Zealand

A funded PhD position in Human nutrition, digestion, metabolism, and the gut microbiome is currently available at the University of Otago, New Zealand.

Application Deadline: Tuesday, 7 June 2022


We want two outstanding PhD candidates for a fantastic opportunity to join a top-class team undertaking research projects in collaboration between the University of Otago’s Department of Human Nutrition, Otago’s Department of Medicine and the Riddet Institute at Massey University.

Project 1:

Aims to identify the impact on digestive comfort, nutritional status, and skeletal muscle function of consuming whole milk powders (bovine, caprine and ovine) in the diets of older adults. This study is the first of this kind to be undertaken. The study includes measurements of dietary intake, digestive function and comfort, physical activity, skeletal muscle strength, body composition, nutritional value, and biological markers of these responses (gut microbiome and metabolites). This study builds on research that indicates milk from different species has differing compositions that could lead to differences in digestive comfort and metabolism. The PhD candidate will be involved in the clinical study, conduct the laboratory and data analyses, and write publications.

For Project 2:

The PhD candidate will acquire strong expertise in big data analysis, multi-omics, bioinformatics, and statistics of existing datasets obtained from studies with participants with functional gut disorders compared to healthy participants and food interventions. Datasets of dietary intakes, perceived gut symptoms, mental wellbeing, and/or molecular signatures of host-microbial interactions (metabolome, microbiome, etc.) will be mined. This novel approach will contribute to developing a systems view of the effects of food on digestive function and comfort.

Value of the Funded PhD Position

The fellowship is available immediately, for 3 years and 5 months, and includes an annual tax-free stipend of NZD$30,000 per year and tuition fees (excluding student service fees and insurance (if any). The positions are available to local or international applicants.

The PhD candidates will be based at the Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Otago in Dunedin. The Riddet Institute funds the stipend and tuition fees. The Riddet Institute is a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence hosted by Massey University. The research undertaken is funded by the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge.

Candidate requirements

The ideal candidates must have:

  • First-Class Honours or Second-Class Honours (Division I) MSc degree (or equivalent) or BSc degree with Honours (or equivalent) in an area of relevant science (e.g. human nutrition, clinical nutrition, biochemistry, microbiology, bioinformatics).
  • Motivation and self-determination to complete a PhD within 3 years and 5 months.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to learn, work independently and collaboratively, adapt to change, and plan, organise and implement projects promptly; and
  • Demonstrated high ethical standards, diligence, integrity, professionalism, politeness, and courteousness, and effectively worked in a diverse team across New Zealand.


The closing date for applications is 7 June 2022.

The application must include:

  • Cover letter (1–2 pages), indicating which project you are interested in applying for, explaining your interest and why you think you are suited.
  • Curriculum Vitae (summarising education, employment, scientific outputs, names of 3 references)
  • Copies of educational certificates and transcript of records.

Your application (relevant documents mentioned above) must be submitted to:

Email [email protected]

Additional information regarding the requirements as a PhD student can be requested by contacting the above email address.

Further information

If you would like to know more about this opportunity, please contact:

Professor Nicole Roy
Email [email protected]
(Do not submit your application to this email address).

Read also: Funded PhD position in Cellular Proteins at Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands

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