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EASTBIO Investigation of conserved proteins that regulate transmission of the malaria parasite and Toxoplasma gondii.

   School of Biological Sciences

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  Dr J Thompson, Dr Joanna Young, Dr N Philip  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The malaria parasite, Plasmodium, and Toxoplasma gondii are related protozoal parasites that infect ~1/2 of the global population and cause a massive burden of death and disease. Although they have evolved very different mechanisms to undergo transmission between their hosts, there may be conserved features in the molecular mechanism that regulate the development of the T. gondii cysts, that survive ingestion and passage through the gastro-intestinal tract, and the development of malaria parasite oocysts in the mosquito midgut. This project will investigate the role of conserved proteins that are essential for the development of these transmission forms, with the aim of identifying new targets of therapeutics that disrupt the parasite lifecycles. 

We have previously identified a family of large surface proteins, the Cysteine Repeat Modular Proteins (CRMPs), that are essential for Plasmodium sporozoite development and egress from the oocyst. This project will investigate the role of CRMPs in the experimentally-amenable T .gondii model during cyst development in vitro and during chronic infection in vivo. In parallel, high-throughput CRISPR genetic screens will be carried out in T. gondii cysts cultured in vitro to identify novel proteins which are essential for cyst development and parasite differentiation and egress. Candidate genes will be disrupted in Plasmodium and Toxoplasma and differentiation and cyst formation will be assessed using high-resolution microscopy, biochemical approaches and infection assays.

The School of Biological Sciences is committed to Equality & Diversity: https://www.ed.ac.uk/biology/equality-and-diversity

How to Apply 

The “Institution Website” button will take you to our online Application Checklist. From here you can formally apply online. This checklist also provides a link to EASTBIO - how to apply web page. You must follow the Application Checklist and EASTBIO guidance carefully, in particular ensuring you complete all the EASTBIO requirements, and use /upload relevant EASTBIO forms to your online application. 

Funding Notes

This 4 year PhD project is part of a competition funded by EASTBIO BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership http://www.eastscotbiodtp.ac.uk/how-apply-0
This opportunity is open to UK and International students and provides funding to cover stipend at UKRI standard rate (£17,668 annually in 2022) and UK level tuition fees. The fee difference will be covered by the University of Edinburgh for successful international applicants, however any Visa or Health Insurance costs are not covered. UKRI eligibility guidance: Terms and Conditions: https://www.ukri.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/UKRI-291020-guidance-to-training-grant-terms-and-conditions.pdf International/EU: https://www.ukri.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/UKRI-170321-InternationalEligibilityImplementationGuidance.pdf

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