PhD Studentship - Computational Biology: In Silico Design and Optimisation of Novel Host-directed Therapies

Imperial College London - Department of Bioengineering

We invite applications for an NC3R-funded PhD studentship to develop a mathematical/computational method to design and optimise a new and promising IFNγ immunotherapy for invasive fungal infection.

Invasive fungal infection usually occurs in patients under immunosuppressive treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer, leukaemia and lymphoma and potent corticosteroid therapy. This project focuses on most common fungal infection of lung, aspergillosis, resulting in a mortality of nearly 100% if not diagnosed or treated and 30-85% even if treated.

This project aims to develop a mathematical/computational method to design the immunotherapy, using a control & dynamical systems approach. We will develop a mathematical model that can describe the regulatory mechanisms leading to progression of chronic fungal lung infection, and use the mathematical model to quantify and assess the fungicidal impact of IFNγ, determine and validate the optimal timing for administration of IFNγ, both alone and in combination with antifungal drugs, and predict optimal prophylaxis regimens for IFNγ therapy. Our in silico approach will identify most ethical and scientifically valid experiments to be conducted, replacing the initial infection experiments with computer simulation.

Applicants should have a Master’s Degree (or equivalent qualification) in a relevant area (computational biology, applied mathematics, control theory, or closely aligned disciplines), experiences in modelling and analysis of biological systems using differential equations and numerical methods, and strong interests in fungal biology. We look for highly motivated applicants with excellent interpersonal, written and oral communication skills and enthusiasm for exposure to a diversity of scientific projects. The PhD student will be co-supervised by Dr Reiko Tanaka (Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London) and Dr Elaine BIgnell (Manchester), and the project involves close interactions with clinicians in the National Aspergillosis Centre (NAC). The student will be based in Imperial College London.

A stipend and home UK/EU fees for 3 years will be awarded. The studentship is available only to UK or EU nationals. Interested applicants should first send a current CV (with the names of 2 referees) and personal statement to Dr Reiko Tanaka (r.tanaka@imperial.ac.uk) by e-mail. Suitable candidates will be then asked to complete an electronic application form at Imperial College London in order for their qualifications to be addressed by College Registry.

More information on research activities in Dr Tanaka’s group is found in http://www.bg.ic.ac.uk/research/r.tanaka. For the funding information, please see https://www.nc3rs.org.uk/studentship-vacancies.

Start date: before 01 October 2017

Additional Funding Information
RCUK standard rate (16,553 in 2017/18)
For three years
Funding is available to UK/EU citizens only.

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

London