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.
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