M.Sc./Ph.D. Opportunities

MSc position to study the relationship between host genetics and pig gut microbiome  

Dr. Brandon Lillie (Pathobiology), Dr. Khurram Nadeem (Mathematics and Statistics), Dr. Vahab Farzan (Pathobiology and Population Medicine) 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The microbial colonization of the neonatal and adult gut plays a key role in function of immunological and metabolic pathways that influence disease resistance, health, and performance of pigs. Indeed, the mechanism-of-action of many commercially available intervention strategies and products designed to promote health and performance in pigs and replace antibiotics, is associated with their demonstrated ability to modify the composition of the gut microbiome. The application of molecular and bioinformatics methods has demonstrated that the gut microbiome is abundant, complex, and highly dynamic, partly influenced by host genetics.  The overall goal of this MSc project is to investigate the relationship between host genetics and the swine gut microbiome. The project is specifically aiming to identify the single nucleotide variants with known roles in innate immunity and host resistance to microbes, as well as SNPs spaced across the entire genome, using a genome wide association study (GWAS) approach.   

JOB DESCRIPTION: The successful candidate will develop and utilize bioinformatics pipelines to model various outcomes related to microbiome (Ex. alpha and beta diversity, microbiome composition) against single nucleotide variants through statistical modeling and genome wide association study.  

Selection of the successful candidate is based on a combination of academic criteria, relevant experience, and referees’ evaluations. Previous experience in programming (e.g., R or Python) and knowledge of statistical methods such as regression analysis will be considered an asset. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. The interested candidates should send a CV, a copy of undergraduate transcripts, a code example, a writing sample, names of three references, and a cover letter stating interest in the above-mentioned research topic to Dr. Vahab Farzan at afarzan@uoguelph.ca.   

The University of Guelph is committed to an Employment Equity Program that includes special measures to achieve diversity among its faculty and staff. We therefore particularly encourage applications from members of underrepresented groups.  


Browse previous M.Sc./Ph.D. opportunities that have been filled.