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Bioinspired glycan-nanoparticles as multifunctional mechanistic probes for virus-dendritic cell interactions

Project Description

Pathogens such as HIV, mycobacteria can bind specifically to host cell surface lectins via their surface specific glycan patterns to initiate infection. Such binding can manipulate immune cells to suppress immunity and further facilitate infection. Thus understanding the mechanism underlying such specific recognition and cellular function regulation holds great promises to develop novel treatment strategies against infectious diseases. Moreover, the new immune modulating ability will help treat cancer, allergy and chronic autoimmune diseases.
This project will develop novel glycan-nanostructures as pathogen mimics to investigate how glycan structures and their presentation patterns control their ability to target the dendritic cell lectin DC-SIGN and modulate its immune function. We will exploit nanoparticles’ unique physico-/chemical properties to develop novel multimodal readout techniques to facilitate this investigation (see our example papers: Angew. Chem. It. Ed. 2006, 55, 4738; J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 11833). We will further collaborate with clinicians to exploit such glycan-nanostructures for potential therapeutic applications.
Ideally, the candidate will have a strong background in organic chemistry and/or chemical biology. A good knowledge of protein chemistry and/or nanotechnology methods will be advantageous. Motivation, creativity and excellent communication skills with the ability to work collaboratively are highly desirable.

Funding Notes

White Rose BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology
4 year fully-funded programme of integrated research and skills training, starting Oct 2020:
• Research Council Stipend
• UK/EU Tuition Fees
• Conference and research funding

At least a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent. We welcome students with backgrounds in biological, chemical or physical sciences, or mathematical backgrounds with an interest in biological questions.

EU candidates require 3 years of UK residency to receive full studentship

Not all projects will be funded; the DTP will appoint a limited number of candidates via a competitive process.

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How good is research at University of Leeds in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 60.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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