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Investigating The Role Of Dietary Prebiotics In Asthma Management – Establishing Mechanisms And Outcomes

  • School: School of Science and Technology
  • Starting: 2023
  • Funding: UK student / Fully-funded


There has been a recent upsurge in our interest and understanding of the links between diet, the gut microbiome, and health, and it is a truly exciting time to be part of this burgeoning research area. The gut microbiome and its association with diet have a significant role to play in human health and wellbeing. Challenges now lie in unravelling mechanisms and improving beneficial effects for human health.

The successful candidate will investigate the role of the gut and dietary prebiotics in asthma. Asthma is a prevalent disorder with a significant public health impact. Several studies describe compositional and/or activity differences of the gut microbiota in asthma patients, and structural differences in the gut barrier. We have previously shown that dietary prebiotic interventions targeting the gut-microbiota can reduce the severity of exercise induced asthma, and airway inflammation (Williams et al., 2016); and that poor gut barrier integrity could worsen asthma control (Lad et al,. 2021). This initial evidence suggests that prebiotics targeting the gut microbiota and gut barrier may be a suitable adjunct treatment to improve asthma disease management and quality of life.

Currently, relevance to broader and more severe asthma phenotypes, and mechanistic understanding of the role of prebiotics and gut microbiota in asthma is lacking. Therefore, this PhD will investigate the effects of dietary prebiotic interventions in asthma patients, and mechanistic changes within the airways, immune system, and the gut. This project will involve both in-vivo human intervention trials of prebiotics in asthma patients, and in-vitro cell culture work to establish mechanistic insight.

We are seeking an excellent PhD candidate to join our multi-disciplinary team. This is a fully funded PhD scholarship on an exciting collaborative project between Nottingham Trent University, University of Nottingham, and Clasado Biosciences Ltd. The successful candidate will gain diverse training and support from both The Department of Sport Science and The Department of Biosciences within the School of Science and Technology at Nottingham Trent University (The Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2023; University of the Year at the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023); alongside our clinical collaborators at University of Nottingham; and industry partner Clasado Biosciences Ltd.

Entry qualifications

Applicants must have a 1st class or 2:1 BSc degree in the field of human physiology, biosciences, sport and exercise sciences or a related subject area. A MSc/MRes degree and experience of conducting human research trials is desirable.

How to apply

Please visit our how to apply page for a step-by-step guide and make an application.

Application deadline: Monday 11 September 2023.

Interviews will take place on the week commencing Monday 18 September 2023.

Fees and funding

This project is a match-funded agreement between Nottingham Trent University and Clasado Biosciences Ltd and hence is fully funded.

Guidance and support

Find out about guidance and support for PhD students.

Still need help?

Dr Neil Williams