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PhD Studentship Opportunity: The Interaction of Classical Swine Fever Virus (CSFV) with Porcine Cells

University of Surrey

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Guildford
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 17th November 2021
Closes: 31st January 2022
Reference: PGR-2122-068

Classical swine fever virus (CSFV) is a highly contagious often fatal virus that infect pigs and other suidae. Clinical signs of disease include fever, loss of appetite and haemorrhages. CSFV is exotic to the UK but an outbreak would have severe consequences to the swine industry with socioeconomic and animal welfare impacts. While there is a very potent vaccine available, its use is limited due to the inability to differentiate infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA). Gaining a better insight into the immune mechanisms which afford vaccine protection would inform the generation of better vaccines with DIVA properties. This project therefore aims to better understand and characterise the porcine host response to the existing potent vaccine and to directly compare these responses to those induced upon infection with a pathogenic CSFV strain. This would serve to identify the immune mechanisms which provide protection verses the mechanisms modulated by viral infection.

While the project will make use of established in vivo animal models it will also aim to develop and employ in vitro techniques to study virus and vaccine interactions with single tonsillar cell populations in addition to mixed populations of tonsillar cells in vitro including developing methods for organoid cultures. To achieve these aims, the student will employ methods beyond cell culture, such as microscopy (including confocal), multi-parameter flow cytometry (including cell sorting), and transcriptomic technology.

This project builds on an existing long running programme of research in this area, where the team has already concluded several successful projects and successfully supervised a number of previous and ongoing PhD students.

The project will be carried out in collaboration with the APHA and the successful candidate will be mainly working at their Weybridge labs. This project will require working in containment, where health and security clearances will be required before starting the PhD.

Supervisors: Professor Falko Steinbach and Dr Helen Crooke, APHA.

This is a 3-year project starting in April 2022.

Entry requirements

A BSc (Hons) degree in a relevant biological subject. Preferably a master’s degree (or equivalent training) in Virology/Microbiology or Immunology. If English is not your first language, please check the University of Surrey website (www.surrey.ac.uk) for language and other requirements that have to be met prior to application.

Funding

This studentship covers the University of Surrey registration fee, doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum and bench fees. Due to funding constraints only UK application can be considered. This is a full time PhD project, which is planned for a period of three years. This opportunity is funded by APHA.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Veterinary Medicine and Science PhD programme page on the "Apply" tab. Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application.

Funding Notes

This studentship covers the University of Surrey registration fee, doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum and bench fees. Due to funding constraints only UK/EU application can be considered. This is a full time PhD project, which is planned for a period of three years. This opportunity is funded by APHA.

Application enquiries

For application enquiries, please contact Professor Falko Steinbach (f.steinbach@surrey.ac.uk).

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