The Universitat Rovira i Virgili, in collaboration with the research institutions affiliated to the Campus of International Excellence Southern Catalonia (CEICS), is launching the Martí i Franquès research grants programme, a public-private cooperation designed to attract highly talented doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers to work on exciting research projects.
This programme honours the scientist Antoni Martí i Franquès (Altafulla, 1750 Tarragona, 1832), who made remarkable contributions not only to the fields of biology, physics and chemistry, but also to the economic development of Southern Catalonia.
He was the first scientist to accurately establish the composition of air.
SPECIFIC POSITION OFFER 2020PMF-PIPF-46
Early exposure-Microbiome-Brain axis in neurological disorders (EMBrio) Overview : The main aim of EMBrio project is to develop and integrative Systems Biology framework to understand the relationship of Gut microbiota, contaminants, and diet (can be extend to other life style factors) for identifying the neurodevelopmental disorders.
Integrative Systems Biology would rely on data from a cohort study (Mother exposure- gut microbiota of the baby) and targeted in vivo study and integrative in silico model.
The project will also explore the molecular, cellular and genetic mechanisms responsible for brain development at the early stages of infant growth.
This project will rely on many ongoing research projects and international collaboration and selected student will work with a multidisciplinary team with frequent research visits and active collaboration.
Background and state of the art : In recent years, research has focused on microbiota to establish a missing link between diet, microbiota and neuronal health of people.
Several studies have established microbiota as key regulators of the gut-brain axis. The presence of microbiota in pregnant females and the effect of female microbiota on infants has also been studied.
But there exists a big challenge that how contaminants are affecting the microbiota of pregnant female which in turn affects the developing brain of the fetus and if such effect can be altered by the diet pattern.
What exactly is missing is the full understanding of this link between human data, actual contaminants exposure, microbiota and neurodevelopmental deficit along with cohort data with statistical significance to derive the missing link that can integrate the microbiota species affecting the early development of the human brain.
Project Contribution and methodology : The main novelties of the project compared to the current state-of-art in this area of research 1.
Systematic understanding of exposure-Microbiome-Brain axis in neurological disorders 2. Proof of concept for molecular, cellular and genetic mechanism and the relationship between neurodevelopmental disorders, microbiota, diet, and contaminants 3.
A novel integrated in silico model and help in designing personalized therapies for pregnant females and infants. Also, the same model can be adapted to different microbiota species and populations.
4. Personalized diet for the pregnant females and infants to culture the microbiota diversity for reducing developmental neurotoxicity while exposure to the contaminant
Required Research Experiences
Skills / Qualifications
In general, be in possession of an official undergraduate degree, or equivalent, and of a master degree, and have passed a minimum of 300 ECTS credits during the course of their official university studies, of which at least 60 must be master s degree credits