cell growth diagram

Investigating the effects of secreted microbial metabolites produced under acid conditions on colorectal cancer cell growth

Eligibility: UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Bursary, tuition fees and additional allowances

Duration: Full time - between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 25 October 2023

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: January 2024

To find out more about the project, please contact Dr I Morozov 


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the three leading killer cancers worldwide and has a low therapeutic index of therapy. The initiation and progression of CRC is modulated by the gut microbiota and metabolites they produce. 

Project details

Understanding the mechanisms by which microbial metabolites influence health and disease of colon epithelial cells presents an opportunity to design novel, game-changing preventative strategies that will preclude the development of cancerous hallmarks and inhibit tumour cell growth. Our recent pioneering work profiling the expressed genes of the gut microbiota (the metatranscriptome) was the first investigation of in vivo microbial activity in CRC. It revealed cancer-specific changes in microbial metabolic activity and evidence that the availability of secreted metabolites to colonocytes is changed (Lamaudière et al., 2023a, 2023b). Further in vitro analyses showed that metabolites secreted by cultured anaerobic meta-bacteria inhibit cancer cell viability and proliferation, affecting several key CRC hallmarks simultaneously, including energy metabolism, redox status, epigenetic and apoptosis. Here, we aim to characterise, for the first time, the molecular mechanisms by which acid-adapted microbial secretome-derived metabolites modulate cancer cell growth via targeting distinct CRC pathways simultaneously. This will form a strong foundation to the development of ground-breaking microbial-based preventive supplementary therapy and long-term, multi-drug treatments which will overcome the resistance to anti-cancer monotherapy by targeting several CRC hallmarks simultaneously and/or sensitise CRC cells to existing monotherapies.


Tuition fees and stipend (£18,622)


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Candidate specification

Entry criteria for applicants to PhD 

  • A bachelor’s (honours) degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum classification of 2:1 and a minimum mark of 60% in the project element (or equivalent), or an equivalent award from an overseas institution.
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
  • An adequate proficiency in English must be demonstrated by applicants whose first language is not English. The general requirement is a minimum overall IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four sections, or the TOEFL iBT test with a minimum overall score of 95 with a minimum of 21 in each of the four sections.

Entry criteria for applicants to MSc/MA by Research

  • Minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average

For further details please visit:  https://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/research-opportunities/research-students/making-an-application/research-entry-criteria/


Additional requirements

The applicant should have prior laboratory experience. Previous work experience with human cell cultures, (RT)-PCR, microbiology, DNA- and RNA purification and western blot is required.


How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Dr I Morozov 

All applications require a covering letter and a 2000-word supporting statement is required showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.  


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