PhD Studentship: Understanding antiviral stress granule (AVG) formation to develop a broad spectrum antiviral therapy (POWELL_U17DTP)

University of East Anglia - Norwich Medical School

Start Date:  1st October 2017

Supervisor: Dr Penny Powell

Project description:

The recent outbreaks of harmful viruses such as Zika virus and Chikungunya virus around the world have shown the need for rapid and effective antiviral therapies.  Even when vaccines are available, they take time to work, they are virus specific and they are expensive and time-consuming to administer. In this project, we will investigate how viruses are sensed by activation of the stress response in cells and try to identify small molecule inhibitors of stress which may act as a potent anti-viral drugs common to all types of virus. The stress response forms cytoplasmic protein aggregates called stress granules to halt protein translation and hence virus replication. Viruses have evolved strategies to overcome these granules, but recently a new type of antiviral granule (AVG) has been identified that we hope to exploit. In this project you will characterize AVGs using confocal live cell imaging, proteomic and translatome analysis. You will use high throughput DNA sequencing and bioinformatic techniques to identify global cell gene expression to find out important aways to amplify the antiviral response in cells.

The project will take place in the Biomedical Research Center at UEA and the Earlham Institute on Norwich Research Park. You will have access to state of the art facilities of confocal microscopes, next generation DNA sequencing methods and machines, and modern fully equipped laboratories. There is a large community of PGR students around Norwich Research Park and a wide number of opportunities for personal and professional development.

Person specification:  Minimum entry 2:1

Funding notes: Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,296 pa – 2016/7), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate, and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships, which when combined will equal a full studentship. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

Details on eligibility for funding on the BBSRC website:

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South East England