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Biophysical approaches to viral vector bioengineering


   Department of Life Sciences

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  Dr Sarah Rouse, Dr Doryen Bubeck  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) have shown great promise as oncolytic viruses, gene-based vaccines, and gene therapy vectors. However, to fully utilise this system we must address gaps in our understanding that currently limit our ability to engineer the virus’s tropism, immunogenicity, and manufacturability. We seek to improve AAV product infectivity through structure-informed rational design. We have previously established a platform, in collaboration with the Bracewell group at UCL, to improve Ad5 and Chadox viral vector infectivity, by rationally designed modified particles.

This PhD studentship will seek to improve AAV efficacy through iterative cycles of rational design. The student will exploit unique capsid properties to design and assess the impact of rationally designed modifications on the product. A key aim of the PhD studentship will be to develop our automated TEM morphology analysis (machine learning) coupled with infectivity assays, in close collaboration with AstraZeneca (AZ). This PhD program will train the student in the multidisciplinary skills required to advance bioscience research in viral vectors for future vaccines and gene therapies.

Application process: To apply please complete the application form found at https://www.imperial.ac.uk/bbsrc-doctoral-training-partnership/application-process/

For queries about the application and interview process please contact Rozan Hamilton-Nixon at dtp(@)imperial.ac.uk.


Funding Notes

The studentship will cover UK tuition fees and will provide an annual tax-free maintenance stipend at the standard UKRI level, currently at £17,609 (rising annually by an amount linked to inflation), in 12 monthly instalments. Studentships will be funded for a maximum of 36 months, subject to satisfactory progress.
Candidates must be UK nationals and have been an ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for three years immediately prior to the start of this studentship award (EU candidates with settled status in the UK may be considered), International students are unfortunately not eligible.
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