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Analysis of mRNA Vaccines and Therapeutics


   Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering

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  Prof Mark Dickman  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Are you interested in developing platform solutions to overcome pandemics, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and other diseases? More specifically, are you interested in developing RNA vaccine & therapeutics production processes for enabling rapid, high volume, low-cost and high-quality vaccine and therapeutics production against a wide range of diseases?

We invite applications for a 3.5 year funded PhD studentship to work under the supervision of Prof Mark Dickman at the University of Sheffield. We are working on an impactful, fast-paced and exciting project aiming to innovate RNA production processes for therapy and pandemic preparedness.

The RNA vaccine platform technology has been successfully used to develop COVID-19 vaccines at record speeds. Although this first iteration of RNA vaccines was clinically successful, there is still substantial room for improving the production processes to increase production rates and volumes, and to reduce costs, whilst maintaining consistently high product quality. The demand for RNA production capacity is projected to increase given the success and platform nature of this technology. Besides COVID-19 vaccines, the mRNA platform technology is in prime position to promote rapid development and mass-production of mRNA vaccines against seasonal influenza with much shorter timelines, Rabies, Zika, Human Papilloma Virus, Hepatitis C, Malaria, HIV, immune disorders, cancer as well as against currently unknown, future viral targets. To enable this product and process development, it is crucial to develop new and improved analytical methods for the characterization of RNA quality for vaccinology and therapeutic applications.

The aim of the studentship is to develop and optimise novel high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and mass spectrometry (MS) methods for developing faster, robust and more informative (higher resolution) tools for the characterization of RNA and mRNA therapeutics. During the project you will gain expertise in HPLC and mass spectrometry method development and analysis, RNA biochemistry and gel electrophoresis.

You will be part of a team of process developers, process modellers, analytical experts and data scientists, all working together to innovate RNA vaccine and therapeutics production processes.

Please see this link for information on how to apply: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/cbe/postgraduate/phd/how-apply. Please include the name of your proposed supervisor and the title of the PhD project within your application.

Applicants should have a first class or upper second class honours degree in chemistry, bioscience, biochemical engineering or a related discipline, or a merit or distinction in a suitable MSc. Experience working in a research laboratory is desirable. All applicants should have a strong interest in analytical science. If English is not your first language then you must have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) average of 6.5 or above with at least 6.0 in each component, or equivalent. Please see this link for further information: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/phd/apply/english-language.

The start date is as soon as possible, the latest start date is in October 2022.

For more information contact: [Email Address Removed].

https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/cbe/people/academic-staff/mark-dickman


Funding Notes

The 3.5 year fully funded studentship is available to UK students. The funding includes:
• Research Council Stipend (Estimated £16,000 Per Year)
• Tuition Fees at the UK Fee Rate (£4,567 Per Year)
• Research Support and Training Grant (RTSG)
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