We are actively looking for highly motivated researchers to join our international, interdisciplinary, and dynamic team.

Openings may be available for

- Master students

- PhD students

- Postdoctoral fellows

- Software engineers

Applications can be sent directly to Prof. Ines Thiele: ines.thiele(at)nuigalway.ie and should contain a detailed CV and a cover letter detailing the researcher's interest in our research and for joining our research group.

Funded PhD position:

"Investigating the role of the gut microbiome in

Alzheimer’s Disease using computational modelling and big data analysis"

Ref. No. NUIG-AD1

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a full-time fixed-term position as a PhD student in the recently established Molecular Physiology Research group, led by Prof. Ines Thiele, at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

This position is funded by National Institute of Ageing (NIA, USA) and is available from November 1st, 2020 for three years.


Dementia is the leading cause of dependence and disability in the elderly population worldwide with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) being by far the most common form. The absence of effective therapies causes a major socioeconomic burden. Increasing evidence supports that AD is a metabolic disease and a wide range of metabolic perturbations occur early in the disease process. While genetic risk clearly plays an important role in AD, the gut microbiome, environment and life-style might contribute to disease pathogenesis. Importantly, gut microbes complement human metabolism. For example, the “gut-brain metabolic axis” facilitates bi-directional chemical communication between the central and enteric nervous system through neuroactive metabolites, such as hormones and neurotransmitters. Changes in gut microbiome composition have been associated with a wide array of conditions, including neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia, and Parkinson’s disease. Many metabolites have recently been shown to be regulated in part by gut microbiome activity. This NIA-funded project brings together the power of metabolomics, (meta)genomics, and large clinical studies to gain further insights into the role of the gut microbiome in AD mechanisms.


This PhD position is part of this international, interdisciplinary project and aims at using advanced computational and statistical analysis approaches to identify metabolic pathways involved in AD and cognitive decline. Therefore, metabolomic and metagenomic data will be computationally and statistically analysed in the context of large-scale computational models of host-microbiome co-metabolism.


Suggested reading:

Hertel et al., Integrated Analyses of Microbiome and Longitudinal Metabolome Data Reveal Microbial-Host Interactions on Sulfur Metabolism in Parkinson’s Disease, Cell Reports, 2019, link.

Job Description:

The successful candidate will analyse metagenomic and metabolomic data in the context of microbial and human metabolic reconstructions to investigate in silico host-microbiome co-metabolism and to predict personalised metabolic pathways perturbed in Alzheimer’s disease. The predictions will be carried out in close collaboration with our international collaborators. The project involves the developments of constraint-based modelling tools for host-microbiome metabolic modelling, integration of large-scale omics data with the host-microbiome models, application of advanced statistics, mining literature mining for relevant medical information.


  • Acquire profound understanding of key technologies and knowledge in computational systems biology, statistical analysis, (medical) biochemistry, and bioinformatics.

  • Perform the research as defined by the PI and the funding source.

  • Contribute to writing of scientific publications, progress reports, and grant applications.

  • Present at national and international conferences.

  • Acquire working skills in time and project management

  • Assist in the supervision of student projects and in teaching.

  • Participate in outreach activities, seminars, and workshops for the development of scientific and transferable skills.

  • Actively collaborate in an interdisciplinary, international team.

  • Engage actively with international collaborators.


Qualifications/Skills required:


Essential Requirements:

  • Master degree (or equivalent) in Statistics, Bioinformatics, Computer Science, Biochemistry, Microbiology, or related fields.

  • Strong interest in metabolism, biochemistry, and computational modelling.

  • Demonstrable skills / experience in programming and/or statistical data analysis

  • Excellent communication skills are required.

  • Excellent working knowledge of English is required.

  • High motivation and interest in interdisciplinary research are required.


Desirable Requirements:

  • Demonstrable experience in the constraint-based reconstruction and analysis approach is highly desirable.

  • Experience in metagenomic and metabolomic data analysis is highly desirable.

  • Experience in statistics and machine learning is desirable.


Stipend: €18,000 per annum


Start date: Position is available from 01.11.2020


Continuing Professional Development/Training:

Researchers at NUI Galway are encouraged to avail of a range of training and development opportunities designed to support their personal career development plans.  

Further information on research and working at NUI Galway is available on Research at NUI Galway

For information on moving to Ireland please see www.euraxess.ie


Further information about Molecular Systems Physiology Group is available at http://thielelab.eu.


To Apply:

Applications to include a covering letter, CV, a motivation letter, and the contact details of three referees should be sent, via e-mail (in word or PDF only) to Prof. Ines Thiele: e-mail

Please put reference number NUIG-AD1 in the subject line of e-mail application. Note only applications with the reference number in the subject will be considered.


Closing date for receipt of applications is 5.00 pm 30.09.2020.


National University of Ireland, Galway is an equal opportunities employer.


All positions are recruited in line with Open, Transparent, Merit (OTM) and Competency based recruitment

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© 2021 by Ines Thiele.