In the middle of applying to universities? | SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE In the middle of applying to universities? | SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE

Dissecting viral lectin receptors DC-SIGN and DC-SIGNR-glycan multivalent interactions by PELDOR spectroscopy and glycan-nanoprobes

   Faculty of Biological Sciences

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Prof D Zhou, Dr Y Guo, Dr C Pliotas  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Viral infections, e.g. the Covid-19 pandemic, remain a great threat to the global healthcare system and economy. Despite advances in vaccination and antiviral medicines, viruses can rapidly develop resistance against such treatments and evade host immunity. Viruses are decorated with specific glycans that not only shield antigens from antibody neutralization, but also facilitate infection by binding to host lectin receptors. Therefore, understanding the structural mechanisms, affinity and dynamics of viral-related multivalent lectin-glycan interactions (MLGIs) is important, allowing us to design spatial-matched multivalent glycans to potently block viral-related MLGIs, thereby prevent infection.

This project will develop novel glycan coated gold nanoparticles as viral mimics and study their binding affinity, dynamics and structural mechanisms with two important viral lectin receptors, DC-SIGN and DC-SIGNR, using the state-of-art PELDOR spectroscopy and our recently developed fluorescence quenching method (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 11833 & 2020, 142, 18022). It will also investigate their antiviral properties against DC-SIGN/R mediated viral infection and correlate their antiviral potencies with lectin binding affinities.


You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper-second class honours degree or a MSc degree in a relevant subject. Ideally candidates will have a strong background in chemical biology, biophysics or synthetic chemistry. A good knowledge of nano-chemistry will be advantageous. Motivation, creativity, excellent communication and team working skills are highly desirable.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Biological Sciences minimum requirements in IELTS and TOEFL tests are:

  • British Council IELTS - score of 6.0 overall, with no element less than 5.5
  • TOEFL iBT - overall score of 87 with the listening and reading element no less than 20, writing element no less than 21 and the speaking element no less than 22.

How to apply:

To apply for this project applicants should complete an online application form and attach the following documentation to support their application. 

  • a full academic CV
  • degree certificate and transcripts of marks
  • Evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (if applicable).

To help us identify that you are applying for this studentship please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;

  • Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
  • When asked for source of funding please make it clear that you are applying for a "White Rose BBSRC DTP Studentship"
  • Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert. You can be considered for up to 3 projects in total.

If you have any further queries regarding this opportunity, please contact [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This opportunity is funded by the White Rose BBSRC DTP and will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £17,668 (based on the 2022/23 rate). The award will also cover academic fees. This opportunity is available to UK and International fee rated applicants. Please note that any expenses related to the relocation of international students to the UK (visa, insurance, NHS fees, flights, etc) would be their responsibility and are not covered by this award.

How good is research at University of Leeds in Biological Sciences?

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities
Search Suggestions
Search suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.

PhD saved successfully
View saved PhDs