PhD Studentship - Novel Vaccines for Major Animal Virus Infections in Developing Countries (CARDING_U18DTP)

University of East Anglia - Norwich Medical School

Location: Quadram Institute Bioscience (Norwich)

Start Date: 1st October 2018

No. of positions available: 1

Supervisor: Professor Simon Carding

Project description: Vaccination is an efficient and cost-effective form of preventing infectious disease that can lead to their global eradication (smallpox and rinderpest). Veterinary vaccines are routinely used to control infections and to enhance animal welfare. However, there is an urgent and growing need for the development of new and improved vaccines to further reduce the global burden of infectious disease morbidity and mortality, particularly against known and emerging and re-emerging diseases. This PhD studentship aims to exploit a bacterial microvesicle drug delivery technology platform developed at the Quadram Institute to generate new vaccine formulations suitable for use in livestock animals. This will involve, (1) engineering the commensal human gut bacterium Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron (Bt) to secrete in their outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) validated vaccine antigens of influenza virus and peste des petits ruminants (PPR) virus both of which have significant economic impact, particularly in developing countries in Asia and Africa where the diseases they cause are endemic, (2) evaluating the ability of OMV vaccine formulations to target antigen presenting cells within gastrointestinal and respiratory tract associated lymphoid tissues and, (3) determining the ability of OMV vaccines to generate virus neutralising local and systemic immune responses. The student will receive training in cellular and molecular biology, anaerobic microbiology, OMV production and, with our collaborators at Liverpool Univ. and Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute (China), in vivo models of infection and immunity. This exciting project provides an opportunity to join a vibrant community of scientists and PhD students at the Quadram Institute and undertake cutting edge research in vaccinology.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 9th, 10th or 11th January 2018.

The Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4 year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website: www.biodtp.norwichresearchpark.ac.uk

Person specification: Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

Funding notes: Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,553pa – 2017/8), 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: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/web/FILES/Guidelines/studentship_eligibility.pdf

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

South East England