Postgraduate study in Genome Biology

Genome biology is a cutting edge area of science that could help us understand why some people develop certain diseases and others don't.


Genome biology is about the relationships that connect a cell’s DNA codes (the genotype), the gene regulation, DNA repair, replication, and environmental signals (epigenetics and the microbiome) with development and disease. Our researchers investigate risk prediction for complex disease, modification of the microbiome to address complex diseases, and the impact of environmental factors on the development of the microbiome in preterm infants. Take part in this research and you could investigate how genetic variation contributes to the development of polygenic diseases like obesity, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, or you could use mixed omics approaches to understand the complex interplay between you, your microbes and your environment.  


Click on each supervisor to find out what projects they currently have available.

Masters and doctoral projects are available to explore the following questions:

  • Precision genetics to improve Asthma prediction, diagnosis and treatment in children (Justin O'Sullivan)
  • COVID-19 understanding how genetics mean that some people recovery and others don't (Justin O'Sullivan)
  • Precision Medicine - Interpretation of enhancer mutations driving cancer onset, progression, and treatment (Dr William Sschierding)
  • Placental and early childhood growth genetics (William Schierding)
  • mTBI (concussion) and brain structure genetics (William Schierding)
  • Neurodevelopmental Epigenetics post-concussion (William Schierding)
  • "Inter-kingdom interactions in the gut microbial communities" – a computational project to explore in-house and public metagenomic data sets for eukaryotic microbes and viruses, and to study their interaction with bacteria, in silico. (Tommi Vatanen)
  • “Assessing the effect of prophylactic dextrose gel on the neonatal microbiome" – a project to analyse 16S rRNA sequencing data from the hPOD project (Tommi Vatanen)

You can get a scholarship to assist with your study. See what’s on offer for Liggins Institute students.

Are you an undergraduate student interested in research? Check the Honours projects available at the Liggins Institute.

Publications and news articles

How to apply

Contact the team to find out more about the projects on offer or to apply.

Associate Professor Justin O'Sullivan
Dr Tommi Vatanen
Dr William Schierding