Development and Innovation of mRNA Vaccine & Therapeutic Production Processes

   Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering

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  Dr Zoltán Kis  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Are you interested in developing exciting platform solutions to overcome pandemics, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and other diseases? More specifically, are you interested in developing and innovating RNA vaccine & therapeutics production processes for enabling rapid, high volume, low-cost and high-quality vaccine and therapeutics production against a wide range of diseases?

If yes, we invite you to apply for a 3.5 year funded PhD studentship to work under the supervision of Dr Zoltan Kis at the University of Sheffield. We are working on an impactful, fast-paced and exciting project aiming to innovate RNA production processes for therapy and pandemic preparedness.

The RNA vaccine platform technology has been successfully used to develop COVID-19 vaccines at record speeds. Although this first iteration of RNA vaccines was clinically successful, there is still substantial room for improving the production processes, i.e. to increase production rates and volumes, and to reduce costs, whilst maintaining consistently high product quality. The demand for RNA production capacity is projected to increase given the success and platform nature of this technology. Besides COVID-19 vaccines, the RNA platform technology is in prime position to promote rapid development and mass-production of vaccines against seasonal influenza, Rabies, Zika, Human Papilloma Virus, Hepatitis C, Malaria, HIV, immune disorders and cancer as well as against currently unknown, future viral targets. A key limitation for unleashing the full potential of this transformative platform technology is the availability to manufacture RNA vaccines and therapeutics rapidly, at high volumes, at low-cost and at high-quality.

The aim of this studentship is to develop and innovate RNA vaccine and therapeutics production processes. For this, you will learn to design, develop and implement the process at small-scale, modular, high-throughput and multi-product formats. To increase process performance, you will optimise the process configuration, apply de-bottlenecking, process intensification and process telescoping. During the project you will gain experience in process development, quality by design and RNA vaccine and therapeutic production.

You will be part of a team of process developers, process modellers, analytical experts and data scientists, all working together to innovate RNA vaccine and therapeutics production processes.

Please see this link for information on how to apply: Please include the name of your proposed supervisor and the title of the PhD project within your application.

Requirements for Applicants

·        A first class or upper second class honours degree in (bio)chemical engineering, biotechnology, bioengineering or a related discipline, and/or, a merit or distinction in a suitable MSc.

·        Experience working in a research laboratory, in process development or in the biopharmaceutical industry is desirable.

·        A strong interest in biopharmaceutical production as well as in mRNA vaccinology and therapy.

If English is not your first language then you must have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) average of 6.5 or above with at least 6.0 in each component, or equivalent. Please see this link for further information:

The start date is as soon as possible, the latest start date is in October 2022.

For more information contact: [Email Address Removed].

Biological Sciences (4) Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

The 3.5 year fully funded studentship is available to UK students. The funding includes:
• Research Council Stipend (Estimated £16,000 Per Year)
• Tuition Fees at the UK Fee Rate (£4,567 Per Year)
• Research Support and Training Grant (RTSG)

Where will I study?

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