3 Year Full Time Studentship - Morphological Adaptation of the Leishmania Parasite for Mammalian Infection

Oxford Brookes University - Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

3 Year Full Time studentship

Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU

Closing date: 12th January 2018 (midnight UK time)

Start Date: September 2018

Value p.a.: Bursary of £14,500 (for 2017/18) and fees.

Main supervisor: Dr Jack Sunter

Project title:

Leishmania is a eukaryotic parasite that causes the devastating disease leishmaniasis that affects millions of people worldwide. Leishmania has a complex life cycle alternating between an insect vector and a mammalian host. In the insect vector there are two major forms of the parasite: first, the proliferative form called a promastigote which then differentiates into the mammalian infective second form called a metacyclic. The metacyclic form is required to establish a mammalian infection; however, there is a lack of information about the morphology and underlying structural adaptations that enable this crucial stage to infect mammals.

The aim of this project is to understand the morphological adaptations the Leishmania metacyclic form has acquired in preparation for life in the mammalian host. This project will use cutting-edge 3D electron microscopy techniques to define the ultrastructure of the metacyclic form in detail. In parallel, protein markers of key cytoskeletal structures (flagellum, collar, etc.) will be tagged and changes in their organisation will be examined during metacyclic differentiation. Cytoskeletal proteins identified in the TrypTag project (tryptag.org) will be knocked out using CRISPR/Cas9 genetic tools to generate morphological mutants, which will then be assessed for their ability to differentiate into the metacyclic form.

As part of their Studentship, any successful applicant will be required to undertake up to 6 hours undergraduate teaching/demonstrating a week during semesters on undergraduate practicals without further remuneration. Training will be given.

Contact: Dr Jack Sunter (jsunter@brookes.ac.uk)

Requirements: Applicants should be of the highest quality and capable of submitting a PhD thesis within 3 years. Applicants should have a first class or upper second class (minimum 2.1) honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or an acceptable equivalent qualification. EU Applicants must have an IELTS Academic test certificate with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued since 12th January 2016 by an approved test centre. We will consider alternative acceptable evidence of English Language ability.


Application procedure:

Applications only to hlsapplications@brookes.ac.uk

Download application form:


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