University of Edinburgh Featured PhD Programmes
University of Leeds Featured PhD Programmes
Norwich Research Park Featured PhD Programmes
University College London Featured PhD Programmes
University of Bristol Featured PhD Programmes

EASTBIO Single cell analysis of invasion and establishment in the intracellular pathogen Theileria annulata

Project Description

Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies / The Roslin Institute

During infections with intracellular pathogens, successful invasion and establishment in a recipient cell is the key event. It is known that not all cells exposed to the same pathogen are successfully infected, i.e. there is a spectrum of permissiveness in the potential host cell population at any one point in time, as well as a spectrum of infectivity in the pathogen cells1,2. Identifying what makes some host cells permissive to a pathogen or not and what makes a pathogen cell particularly infective, would be important steps towards understanding, and potentially designing interventions for, intracellular pathogens. Theileria is an intracellular protozoan pathogen that causes serious disease in cattle across Africa and Asia. As well as invading host lymphocytes, Theileria is unique in that it co-opts the replication of the host cell, resulting in a cancer-like immortalisation of the infected cells. We have preliminary data from Theileria annulata, the causative agent of tropical theileriosis, that the infective sporozoites preferentially infect a subset of B cells, despite this host cell population being present at low levels. We also have experience in analysing host and pathogen gene expression using single cell data in invasion and establishment in other Apicomplexa, including Theileria parva and Toxoplasma gondii. The student will build upon this platform of preliminary data and technical expertise to analyse invasion, establishment and cell immortalisation in bovine B cells by Theileria annulata at the single cell transcriptomic level. This will enable identification of host and parasite cellular gene expression profiles (‘dual RNAseq’3), cell cycle status, and cellular processes associated with successful establishment of Theileria annulata infection, which can then be further explored in targeted experiments. The successful candidate will be trained in ex vivo analysis of bovine immune cells, flow cytometry, in vitro cell culture of host and pathogen cells, molecular biology and cutting edge bioinformatic analysis (single cell transcriptomics), resulting in cross-disciplinary abilities that will provide a highly competitive platform for a career in science.

For further information please contact Dr Liam Morrison (), Dr Musa Hassan () or Dr Tim Connelley ().

All candidates should have or expect to have a minimum of an appropriate upper 2nd class degree. To qualify for full funding students must be UK or EU citizens who have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to commencement.

Funding Notes

Completed application form along with your supporting documents should be sent to our PGR student team at

Please send the reference request form to two referees. Completed forms for University of Edinburgh, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the Roslin Institute project should be returned to by the closing date: 5th January 2020.

It is your responsibility to ensure that references are provided by the specified deadline.
Download application and reference forms via:
View Website


1. Chattopadhyay et al, 2018, Nature Communications, 9, 4638.
2. Avraham et al, 2015, Cell, 162, 1309-1321.
3. Westermann et al, 2017, PLoS Pathogens, 13 (2), e1006033

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2019
All rights reserved.