Essential and virulence genes in Coxiella burnetii, Biosciences – MPhil/PhD

University of Exeter - College of Life and Environmental Science

About the Award

The University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences, in partnership with Defence Science Technology Laboratory (DSTL), is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship from January 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students the studentship will cover UK tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £14,553 for 3 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study. The student would be based in Biosciences at the Streatham Campus in Exeter.

Academic Supervisors:

Professor Rick Titball, University of Exeter

Dr Claudia Hemsley, University of Exeter

Dr Izzy Norville, DSTL

Project Description:

Q fever is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii and affects both humans and livestock around the world. In humans, C. burnetii is one of the most infectious pathogens known and disease can be severe. Consequently the bacterium is considered a biothreat agent. A major breakthrough in 2009 was the development of a method for culturing the bacterium in the laboratory. This has opened exciting new research opportunities. You will join a team working to discover virulence mechanisms of C. burnetii. This work is essential in order to develop diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics and to discover if all strains are equally capable of causing disease. You will use a powerful whole genome mutagenesis technology coupled with high throughput sequencing (TraDIS) in a range of infection models to identify virulence-associated genes. This exciting project will not only provide the opportunity to undertake cutting edge research, but also to work with Dstl scientists and spend time at the DSTL laboratories at Porton Down in Wiltshire.

The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3 years of full-time study to commence in January 2018 and is subject to confirmation of funding.  

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology. 

If you have any general enquiries email or phone +44 (0)1392 725150/723706. Project-specific queries to, Prof. Rick Titball

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South West England