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]