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  Defining the mechanisms of vaccine mediated resistance against whipworm parasites

   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

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  Prof K Else, Prof Richard Grencis  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Vaccination is one of the greatest advances in global health; however most successful vaccines have been made empirically. We still have little insight into how many vaccines work and the mechanisms by which they trigger protective immune responses. Trichuris trichiura (whipworm) is a soil-transmitted helminth parasite that affects around 500 million people worldwide, resulting in disability and poor child development, especially in areas of poor hygiene and sanitation. Drugs have limited efficacy and there is no vaccine available. The limited anthelmintic drug pipeline and the growth of resistance to existing chemicals means that novel vaccine approaches are urgently needed.

In order to strategically design vaccines, an understanding of the mechanisms by which they protect in preclinical models is important. For example in the context of vaccine-mediated protection against soil transmitted helminths such as Trichuris, is it a B cell/antibody mediated protection? This project will use a variety of transgenic mouse models to dissect out the key elements in vaccine-mediated protection and will also explore the ability of vaccines to protect when delivered to the already chronically infected host.

Entry Requirements

Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area/subject. Candidates with previous laboratory experience are particularly encouraged to apply.

How To Apply

For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website ( Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select the appropriate subject title.

For international students, we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website”

Biological Sciences (4)

Funding Notes

Applications are invited from self-funded students. This project has a Band 3 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website


Dixon H., Johnston CE and Else KJ. (2008) Antigen selection for future anti-Trichuris vaccines: a comparison of cytokine and antibody responses to larval and adult antigen in a primary infection. Parasite Immunology 30(9), 454-61. Epub 2008 Jun 17.
Dixon H., Little MC., and Else KJ. (2010) The protective Th2 response following subcutaneous vaccination against T. muris. International Journal for Parasitology 2010 May;40(6):683-93. PMID: 19968992
Zawawi A, Forman R, Smith H, Mair I, Jibril M, Albaqshi MH, Brass A, Derrick JP, Else KJ. In silico design of a T-cell epitope vaccine candidate for parasitic helminth infection. PLoS Pathog. 2020 Mar 23;16(3):e1008243. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008243
Else KJ, Keiser J, Holland CV, et al. Whipworm and roundworm infections. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2020;6(1):44. Published 2020 May 28. doi:10.1038/s41572-020-0171-3
Zawawi A and Else KJ. STH vaccines – are getting closer? Frontiers in Immunology (2020) in press
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