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Chemokine signalling network targeted by tick saliva proteins


School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Prof Akane Kawamura , Prof S Bhattacharya , Prof Ehmke Pohl , Dr SL Cobb Friday, January 22, 2021 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Newcastle United Kingdom Biochemistry Cell Biology Developmental Biology Immunology Parasitology Structural Biology

About the Project

Ticks have evolved ways to efficiently evade the host-defense response, allowing them to feed for days to weeks without being detected. Ticks secrete small proteins in saliva, called evasins, that have the ability to bind and neutralise multiple chemokines to disable the host chemokine network that drives inflammation. Indeed, evasins have been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory effects in preclinical models, including in myocardial infarction and plaque inflammation. We and others have identified over 40 tick evasins from multiple tick species, all with broad and promiscuous chemokine binding properties. Thus, evasins can serve as useful tools to study and modulate the chemokine network, with an exciting potential to inspire the development of peptidic/peptidomimetic anti-inflammatory therapeutics. The overall aim of this project is to study the molecular basis of multi-chemokine binding properties of evasins, and to investigate how evasins neutralise chemokine function.

This is a highly collaborative, multidisciplinary project between Newcastle University, Durham University and Oxford University. The student will be primarily based in Prof Akane Kawamura’s lab (Newcastle University) and will be co-supervised by Prof. Shoumo Bhattacharya (University of Oxford), Dr Steven Cobb and Dr Ehmke Pohl (Durham University). The student will receive extensive training in cutting-edge methods in peptide chemistry, biophysical and biochemical methods, structural biology and cellular assays.

Informal enquiries may be made to

HOW TO APPLY

Applications should be made by emailing with a CV and a covering letter, including whatever additional information you feel is pertinent to your application; you may wish to indicate, for example, why you are particularly interested in the selected project/s and at the selected University. Applications not meeting these criteria will be rejected. We will also require electronic copies of your degree certificates and transcripts.

In addition to the CV and covering letter, please email a completed copy of the Application Details Form (Word document) to , noting the additional details that are required for your application which are listed in this form. A blank copy of this form can be found at: https://www.nld-dtp.org.uk/how-apply.


Funding Notes

Studentships are funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) for 4 years. Funding will cover tuition fees at the UK rate only, a Research Training and Support Grant (RTSG) and stipend. We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK and are able to offer a limited number of bursaries that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.


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