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  Development of broad-spectrum host-targeting antivirals against coronaviruses

   School of Pharmacy

  Dr Maitreyi Shivkumar, Dr Tim Snape  Friday, July 26, 2024  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for broad-spectrum antivirals, which can be deployed rapidly against coronaviruses and future emerging viruses. In this project, the successful candidate will work within a multidisciplinary team to identify and develop antiviral compounds against coronaviruses.

Viruses manipulate host pathways upon infection, activating cellular signalling pathways leading to changes in host cell protein phosphorylation. Kinases that regulate these pathways have been suggested to be important antiviral drug targets.

We have identified several kinase-targeting proteolysis targeting chimera (PROTAC) molecules that have anti-coronavirus activity. This project aims to take this further, to develop these PROTACs as pan-coronavirus inhibitors and investigate their mechanism of action using a combination of molecular biology and cell biology techniques.

This project provides a unique opportunity to work at the forefront of virology research, making important contributions towards understanding the fundamental aspects of coronaviruses, as well as having a positive impact on public health measures for infection control.

The successful candidate will based within the Leicester Institute of Pharmaceutical Innovation in the Leicester School of Pharmacy, with dedicated state-of-the-art facilities for undertaking the project.

The candidate will be supervised by Dr Maitreyi Shivkumar (), and co-supervised by Dr Tim Snape (), as part of an multidisciplinary research team, who will provide excellent training and support in scientific, technical, and transferable skills required to develop as a research scientist. Potential applicants can contact Dr Shivkumar or Dr Snape for any informal queries.

Techniques associated with the project

Cell and virus culture, molecular cloning, immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy, Western blotting, virus entry assays, drug inhibition assays, flow cytometry, transmission electron microscopy, NMR, medicinal chemistry. 

The deadline to apply is Friday, 26 July 2024

Information on how to apply for this scholarship please visit

Full applications will need to be submitted to

Biological Sciences (4) Medicine (26)

Funding Notes

DMU is offering a fully-funded 3-year PhD scholarship for this work, commencing on 1st January 2025. Tuition fees at Home level will be waived (international students will need to pay the difference between Home and International fees which is around £10k per year). The studentship comes with a stipend pegged at the UKRI rate, currently at £19,237 per annum.

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