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  Employing molecular virology to investigate hepatitis E virus replication

   Faculty of Biological Sciences

  ,  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This project is available to self funded candidates only. The Herod lab has a broad interest in virus replication, with a particular interest in studying single-stranded positive-sense RNA viruses important for human and animal health. We uses an interdisciplinary approach to understand the molecular mechanism that regulate viral genome replication, virion assembly and disassembly. The lab studies a range of viruses, with a particular interest in GI viral infections such as norovirus and hepatitis E virus. Our overarching aim is to use a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms of viral replication to develop new approaches to disease control.

The School of Molecular and Cellular biology invites applications from prospective postgraduate researchers who wish to commence study for a PhD in the academic year 2024/25.

This opportunity is open to candidates who have the means to self fund their studies or who have a sponsor who will cover this cost. We especially welcome applications that connect to the School's core research areas. 

Project Description

Hepatitis E virus (HEV), is a major causative agent of acute, severe hepatitis. The infection can also be chronic, particular in immunocompromised people, and fatal in pregnant women or those with existing liver diseases. The virus can be zoonotic (i.e. it can spread from animals to humans) and can infect a wide range of animals, most notable pigs where it can be passed onto humans through consumption of contaminated pork products. There are no licenced therapies to treat HEV infection and therefore there is a requirement to develop new therapeutic strategies.

Until recently, probing details of HEV replication has been challenging, partly due to the lack of suitable reagents. This project aims to exploit recently developed subgenomic replicons, infectious molecular clones and a unique set of tools to understand the function of the viral non-structural proteins on a molecular level (in combination with biochemical, proteomics, labelling and state-of-the-art imaging approaches). These proteins are unique to the virus and essential for viral genome replication. Therefore, they make ideal targets for the design of new therapeutics. The long-term aim of the work is to use a greater knowledge of the molecular details of viral replication to develop new approaches for disease control and diagnosis.


Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline.

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)
  • Evidence of funding

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

  • Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
  • Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert

For information about the application process please contact the Faculty Admissions Team:


Biological Sciences (4)

Funding Notes

This project is open to applicants who have the funding to support their own studies or who have a sponsor who will cover these costs.

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