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Scientist on Intestinal Health in Poultry

Ghent University

Ghent, Belgium

Job description

The last decade, a variety of products have been used as feed additives to maintain animal health. Also in humans, prebiotic and probiotic products are being used more frequently to counteract intestinal syndromes and diseases, and food has been proven as a target to maintain and improve gut health. In poultry production, major problems are of intestinal origin, including gut inflammation, dysbiosis and intestinal pathogens, such as Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens. While antimicrobial usage in production animals is under discussion (due to resistance development), there is an increasing trend to use gut health-promoting feed additives. Prebiotic approaches are promising as they stimulate beneficial microbe colonization, such as butyrate producing microbiota that have proven anti-inflammatory and performance-enhancing effects. Galacto-oligosaccharides are promising candidates as they can be fermented by the intestinal microbiota and are being used in various animals models for gut disorders with success. Their use in poultry is not yet investigated un detail. The proposed project will initiate in vitro studies to investigate GOS fermentation and steering of microbial populations in the gut, and will use in vitro and in vivo models to evaluate effects of microbial shifts, caused by GOS, on intestinal inflammation and gut wall morphology.

The researcher (MSc or PhD) is expected to develop his own research plan, within the scope of the described project, under the guidance of the promotors. This will involve both in vitro experiments and in vivo trials with chickens.

Profile of the candidate

  • Master degree or PhD in Bioengineering Sciences, Biotechnology, Veterinary Sciences or equivalent;
  • Excellent communication skills and proficient in English;
  • Highly motivated and team-oriented;
  • You are driven to explore research questions independently and in depth;
  • You have a specific interest in intestinal health and the host-microbiome cross-talk.

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