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Analytical and Applied Biosciences - Chemoproteomics characterisation of the lipid transport machinery operating at the host-pathogen interface.

National Horizon Centre

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Prof V Rand , Dr J Mina No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Middlesbrough United Kingdom Bioinformatics Cancer Biology Pathology

About the Project

Analytical and Applied Biosciences - Chemoproteomics characterisation of the lipid transport machinery operating at the host-pathogen interface.

Applicants should use the links provided in each topic or project area to the Research Centres and Research Groups identified, or to the named supervisors for each project, to ensure that their application and proposal fits with the research interests and topics defined in the studentships offered.


Protozoan parasites are amongst the most pressing concerns on the global health agenda, for both humans and animals. A portfolio of new anti-parasitic drugs is required to tackle protozoan diseases because: (i) there is currently a lack of effective chemotherapeutics; (ii) available treatments exhibit toxicity and mutagenicity; and (iii) resistance to available drugs is evolving and becoming widespread. The majority of protozoan parasites alternate between two hosts and undergo complex morphological and ultrastructural changes requiring massive organellar and membrane biogenesis. This creates an extraordinary demand for both host-like and unusual lipids. Parasite lipid metabolism is therefore proposed as a potential drug target, both endogenous (de-novo synthesized) and host scavenged lipids. Therefore, the lipid exchange machinery operating at the host-pathogen interface represents a promising drug target. However, this remains elusive. The research project will apply cutting edge chemical parasitology and mass spectrometry-based ‘omics approaches to identify and characterise the proteins involved in this lipid exchange process. Using lipid-like chemical probes, this project will investigate the lipid transport machinery in the intracellular parasites Toxoplasma and Sarcocystis, human and animal pathogens belonging to the Apicomplexa, a phylum including Plasmodium falciparum - the causative agent of severe malaria. While toxoplasmosis and sarcocystosis are usually asymptomatic in healthy individuals, they can cause significant problems in immunocompromised patients. Moreover, toxoplasmosis is implicated in several neurological and psychological disorders, spontaneous abortion and, in addition, damage to the optic nerve in new-borns. Currently there are no treatments for chronic toxoplasmosis. This project will provide insight into the lipid exchange mechanism at the host-pathogen interface yielding valuable information that will guide future efforts to identify new drug targets. Therefore, the project is aligned to the theme of Health and Wellbeing with promising translational potential - benchtop to market.

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold or expect to obtain a good honours degree (2:1 or above) in a relevant discipline. A masters level qualification in a relevant discipline is desirable, but not essential, as well as a demonstrable understanding of the research area. Further details of the expected background may appear in the specific project details. International students will be subject to the standard entry criteria relating to English language ability, ATAS clearance and, when relevant, UK visa requirements and procedures.

How to apply

Please use the Online Application (Funded PHD) application form for the year starting ‘October 2020’. When asked to specify funding select “other” and enter ‘RDS’ and the title of the PhD project that you are applying for. You should ensure that you clearly indicate that you are applying for a Funded Studentship and the title of the topic or project on the proposal that you will need to upload when applying. If you would like to apply for more than one project, you will need to complete a further application form and specify the relevant title for each application to a topic or project. 

Applications for studentships that do not clearly indicate that the application is for a Funded Studentship and state the title of the project applied for on the proposal may mean that your application may not be considered for the appropriate funding. 

For administrative enquiries before or when making your application, contact [Email Address Removed].

After an application has been made, please contact [Email Address Removed]

Select process

All applications received by the closing date will be considered. Successful applicants at the application stage will be shortlisted and contacted to arrange an interview. All interviews will be held online. Unsuccessful applicants will be contacted to confirm that the application will not be progressed. After interview, all interviewed applicants will be contacted to inform them of the outcome. All applicants will be considered for both Fully Funded PhD and Fees-Paid PhD studentships with the decision about the type of studentship offered to a successful candidate made after interviews have taken place. Successful applicants progressing to an offer of a place, to commence in either May or October 2021.

About Teesside

As a Teesside University research student, you will join a growing and dynamic research community, allowing you to share your experiences, insight and inspiration with fellow researchers. You will benefit from our academic expertise, and be supported through a strong programme of research training. You will be offered opportunities and support at each stage of your research degree. Our research is designed to have impact, and to influence policy and practice within our region, the UK and beyond. We work with external organisations to anticipate and respond to research needs, and to put our research into practice in sectors as diverse as the arts, engineering, healthcare and computing. PhD students are encouraged to work with their supervisors to explore the potential impact of their work.

The successful candidate will be expected to participate fully in research group and centre activities, including training sessions and workshops, and will become a member of the University’s wider postgraduate research community. Mentoring and support will be provided for the development of a strong academic and professional CV during the PhD.

Academic enquiries

For academic enquiries, please contact [Email Address Removed].

For administrative enquiries before or when making your application, contact [Email Address Removed].

Key dates

Deadline: 15/02/2021 5:00PM

Interview date: We envisage that interviews will take place in w/c 22 March 2021.

Start date: Successful applicants will be expected to start May or October 2021.

Funding Notes

The Fees-Paid PhD studentship will cover all tuition fees for the period of a full-time PhD Registration of up to four years. Successful applicants who are eligible will be able to access the UK Doctoral Loan scheme to support with living costs.

The Fully Funded PhD Studentship covers tuition fees for the period of a full-time PhD Registration of up to four years and provide an annual tax-free stipend of £15,000 for three years, subject to satisfactory progress.

Applicants who are employed and their employer is interested in funding a PhD, can apply for a Collaborative Studentship.
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