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Enhancing MHC Presentation of Antigenic Peptides for Cancer Gene Therapy

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, January 29, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Anti-cancer immune responses can be stimulated by in vivo expression of tumour antigens in dendritic cells. However, the effectiveness of such cancer gene therapies is typically limited by suboptimal MHC presentation of recombinant protein-derived peptides, and poor immunostimulatory activity of genetically modified dendritic cells. To elicit a strong immune response against a discrete tumour associated antigen, the corresponding gene sequence would ideally be specifically designed to target the recombinant protein to appropriate cellular machinery in order to optimise the quantity and diversity of target-protein derived epitopes that are presented by MHC class I and class II molecules.

This project will use a synthetic biology approach to identify gene/protein sequence features that enhance MHC display of recombinant protein-derived antigens. By completing multiple rounds of a design-build-test-learn cycle, a set of design rules will be identified that can be utilized to generate optimal gene sequences for any new dendritic cell gene therapy. This technology will be reduced to practice by validating its performance in industrial systems, via collaboration with biopharmaceutical companies.

This is an excellent opportunity for a postgraduate student to work on a synthetic biology project with direct bioindustrial application. Students will join an active research group (20+ members) with extensive industry-links, working at the cutting edge of biopharmaceutical development, design and manufacture. Working in our molecular biology and cell culture laboratories, equipped with up-to-date industrially-relevant technologies/equipment, students will obtain skills and capabilities that are in high-demand in both academia and the biopharmaceutical/biotechnology industry.

Funding Notes

The ideal candidate will have (or expect to obtain) a first or upper second class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline such as biology, immunology, molecular biology, biochemistry, biotechnology or bioengineering. If English is not your first language, then you must have International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) average of 6.5 or above with at least 6.0 in each component.

If you require any further information before making an application, please contact Dr Adam Brown (). Applications are also welcome from students who have funding secured from international governments or other agencies.

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