Shining a light on health: precisely targeting diet to mito-nuclear variation via spectroscopy and genomics

Project Summary

Can we predict the best diet for an individual's lifelong health? A major obstacle for this goal is that individuals vary substantially in how they will respond to a dietary alteration. This project will use the power of Drosophila genetics, machine learning, and new methods for chemical profiling. It will build on new knowledge of complex synergies between nuclear and mitochondrial genomes, to identify patterns of response to diet. This will enable us to test whether knowledge of nuclear and mitochondrial genomes and the resultant chemistry, facilitates prediction of the best diet for the health of uncharacterised individuals. 

Project Team and where the student will be based

The principal project supervisor is Dr Adam Dobson, a UKRI Research Fellow in the Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology. Additional supervisory support will be provided by Prof. Colin Selman (Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine), and Prof. Klaas Wynne (Chemistry). The student will be based with Dr Dobson's group in the Davidson Building on the Main Campus.


  • Academic qualifications - The successful candidate must hold an upper-second class undergraduate (2:1) degree or equivalent at the time of starting the studentship. A master's degree is desirable but not essential.
  • Experience – The successful candidate must have experience of working in a molecular laboratory, and knowledge of modern biosciences, including knowledge of subject areas such as ageing, genetics, genomics, nutrition, metabolism. Computational skills, such as the R statistical language, would also be highly beneficial. Experience of working with Drosophila, insects, or other model organisms, would also be advantageous.
  • Skills/Attributes – We seek an organised, dedicated and conscientious individual, with a strong and demonstrable interest in the subject. The successful candidate is friendly, takes the initiative, enjoys working in a team, but can also work independently.


Enquiries about this project should be directed to Dr Adam