Early Development and Genetic Engineering of Galleria Mellonella for Drug Discovery, Biosciences – MPhil/PhD (Funded) Ref 2759

University of Exeter - College of Life and Environmental Sciences

The University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences, in partnership with Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in January 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students, the studentship will cover UK/EU 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 the Living Systems Institute in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the Streatham Campus in Exeter.   Location: Living Systems Institute, Streatham Campus, Exeter.

Academic Supervisors:

Dr James Wakefield, University of Exeter

Professor Rick Titball, University of Exeter

Project Description:

Growing evidence supports the use of the wax moth, Galleria mellonella, as a new in vivo model to determine novel pharmaceutical compounds' mechanism of action, efficacy and safety, particularly in the field of anti-microbial research. The larvae exhibit broad susceptibility to microbial pathogens and both the pharamacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drug clearance show remarkable similarities to the patterns of drug clearance from humans. Additionally, in contrast with competing non-mammalian systems, such as zebrafish, roundworm and fruitfly, the G. mellonella model is comparatively easy to set up and use. However, its broader adoption as a reliable pharmaceutical preclinical platform is currently limited by the lack of available genetic tools.

This project will explore the fundamental developmental biology of G. mellonella, allowing the development of suitable transgenic technologies, including CRISPR-Cas9 in this organism. The overall goal is to generate a transgenic G. mellonella that expresses a fluorescent protein in response to immune challenge. The fluorescence signal will provide a reliable indication of larval health, expanding the platform's potential application as a drug discovery and toxicity screening tool, particularly within the infectious disease field. In addition, the use of inducible promoters will also open new opportunities for the engineering of transgenic larvae that report microbial infection.         

This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and a tax-free stipend. For students who pay UK/EU tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £14,553 per year tax-free stipend.

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.

Entry requirements:

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. Previous experience of working with insects would be an advantage.

If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.5 in IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project. Alternative tests may be acceptable, see www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/english.

Funding Details

This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and a tax-free stipend.  For students who pay UK/EU tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £14,553 per year tax-free stipend. 

Location

Streatham Campus Exeter

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

South West England