FindA University Ltd Featured PhD Programmes
University of Sheffield Featured PhD Programmes
FindA University Ltd Featured PhD Programmes
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Featured PhD Programmes
University of Sheffield Featured PhD Programmes

Evolutionary genomic analysis of rodent immune genes

Project Description

You will investigate how immune systems evolve. Immune systems are highly sophisticated networks encoded by hundreds of genes. One way to understand how these networks function is to compare them between related species, to see which genes are common between them and which are unique. This is important, not least because laboratory mice are used as models for humans, but we don’t know what aspects of the immune system of laboratory mice is shared with other rodent species, let alone humans.

Our lab has investigated immunity in wild rodents using genome sequencing, gene expression and single-cell genomics. This is coupled to extensive phenotypic and immunological data from wild rodents responding to pathogens in the wild. This provides a unique resource to ask: what genomic features of the mouse immune system are conserved across rodent species? and how does genetic variation among individuals affect their immune function?

You receive training in genomics and bioinformatics. These are skills that are highly in demand in academia and industry. Training will be provided formally through structured courses, which will support the development of your novel programme of work under direction of the supervisors. You will be associated with the Centre for Genomics Research, which is one of best laboratories in its field in Europe and has extensive expertise in non-model species and infectious disease. You will also benefit from a vibrant research environment in the newly-formed Institute of Infection, Ecology and Veterinary Science that is ideally placed to understand how animals respond to environmental challenges, including climate change and infectious disease.

The project is suited to a student with at least a good B.Sc. Upper Second in Biological or Life Sciences (particularly genetics or evolutionary biology) or for a computer science graduate wanting to make a transition into biology.

Funding Notes

The project is open to both European/UK and International students. It is UNFUNDED and applicants are encouraged to contact the Principal Supervisor directly to discuss their application and the project.

Details of costs can be found on the University website:
View Website


Wanelik, K. M., Begon, M., Birtles, R. J., Bradley, J. E., Friberg, I. M., Jackson, J. A., . . . Paterson, S. (2018). A candidate tolerance gene identified in a natural population of field voles (Microtus agrestis). MOLECULAR ECOLOGY, 27(4), 1044-1052. doi:10.1111/mec.14476

Abolins, S., Lazarou, L., Weldon, L., Hughes, L., King, E. C., Drescher, P., . . . Viney, M. (2018). The ecology of immune state in a wild mammal, Mus musculus domesticus. PLOS BIOLOGY, 16(4). doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2003538

Turner, A. K., & Paterson, S. (2013). Wild rodents as a model to discover genes and pathways underlying natural variation in infectious disease susceptibility. PARASITE IMMUNOLOGY, 35(11), 386-395. doi:10.1111/pim.12036

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.