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A tool for exploring combination therapy for pneumonic plague

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 17, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Pneumonic plague is the deadliest manifestation of disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Following respiratory exposure in humans, mortality rates are nearly 100% with death in 4-7 days. Its lethality has led to the assignment of Y. pestis as a Tier 1 Select Agent and fears of its weaponisation in bioterrorism.

The aim of this project is to provide a theoretical demonstration that combination therapy strategies, for successful management of the disease, can be guided by mathematical and computational modelling approaches.

The student will develop mathematical models informed by experimental data from the literature, representing the interaction between the bacterium Y. pestis and immune response in the lungs. The effect of antimicrobials, immuno-suppressants, and immuno-stimulants will be simulated providing a prototype capability that facilitates theoretical investigation of optimal treatment strategies and timings based on combination therapy.

This studentship will provide an excellent opportunity to work in an established group at the interface of mathematics, biology and medicine, as well as up to 3 months placement at Dstl (part of the Ministry of Defence). Training in mathematical/computational modelling and statistical inference approaches will be provided throughout the PhD.

Industry partner, Joe Gillard DSTL

Funding Notes

The studentships will commence in October 2020, and a stipend (£15,009 for 2019/20) and fee waiver for 3.5 years is available for UK applicants, plus research training support grant, travel and laptop allowance.

Fully funded studentships are available for UK applicants. EU applicants able to confirm that they have been resident in the UK for at least three years before October 2020 may also be eligible for a full award. EU students who are not able to prove that they meet the residency criteria may apply for a fees only award.

Interviews take place week commencing 17 February 2020.

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