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Exploring viral evolution along the invasion route of the demon shrimp, Dikerogammarus haemobaphes

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, April 20, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Start date: Successful applicants will be expected to start on 5 October 2020 but consideration will also be given for applicants starting on 7 December 2020.

Invasive non-native species, such as plants, animals and microorganisms, which move from one location to another, can have the potential to damage native ecosystems. One method by which invasions can damage an ecosystem is via the introduction of pathogenic organisms such as viruses. Much data is available on different pathogens that invade new ecosystems; however, little is known about the selective pressures surrounding the evolution of pathogens during biological invasions. One way to explore this is to track a virus back to its native source and collect genetic data on common and rare mutations across the native and invasive geographic range.

One invasion model involves the demon shrimp, Dikerogammarus haemobaphes, and its nucleo-cytoplasmic large DNA virus ‘Dikerogammarus haemobaphes Mininucleovirus’ (DhMV). This host species is now widespread across aquatic systems in the UK and harbours a virus belonging to a recently described taxonomic viral family (Mininucleoviridae). Only three viruses are known from this family: one in the lobster, Panulirus argus from the Caribbean; one in the shore crab Carcinus maenas; and DhMV from the demon shrimp.

Using this model invasion system, the student will explore the genetic diversity of this crustacean virus and other related viruses from across the UK in addition to collecting specimens from invasion zones in Europe and the native Ponto-Caspian region. The work will include the development of diagnostic molecular tools in addition to a broad range of experimental and ecological research. The outcome will provide a broader understanding of viral evolution during animal invasions and provide detailed information about the relationship between the demon shrimp and its viral pathogens.

Applicants should use the links provided in each topic or project area to the Research Centres and Research Groups identified, or to the named supervisors for each project, to ensure that their application and proposal fits with the research interests and topics defined in the studentships offered.

Entry requirements


Applicants should hold or expect to obtain a good honours degree (2:1 or above) and/or Masters level qualification in a relevant discipline, as well as a demonstrable understanding of the area; further details of the expected background may appear in the specific project details. International students would be subject to the standard entry criteria relating to English language ability, ATAS clearance and, when relevant, Tier 4 procedures.

How to apply


Applicants should apply online for this opportunity. Please use the PhD full time online application form. When asked to specify funding select “other” and enter ‘RDS’ and the title of the PhD project that you are applying for. You should ensure that you clearly indicate that you are applying for an RDS Studentship and the title of the topic or project on the proposal that you will need to upload when applying. If you would like to apply for more than one project, you will need to complete a further application form and specify the relevant title for each application to a topic or project.

Applications for funded studentships that do not clearly indicate that the application is for an RDS Studentship and state the title of the project applied for on the proposal may mean that you your application may not be considered for the appropriate funding.

About Teesside


As a Teesside University research student, you will join a growing and dynamic research community, allowing you to share your experiences, insight and inspiration with fellow researchers. You will benefit from our academic expertise, and be supported through a strong programme of research training. You will be offered opportunities and support at each stage of your research degree. Our research is designed to have impact, and to influence policy and practice within our region, the UK and beyond. We work with external organisations to anticipate and respond to research needs, and to put our research into practice in sectors as diverse as the arts, engineering, healthcare and computing. PhD students are encouraged to work with their supervisors to explore the potential impact of their work.

The successful candidate will be expected to participate fully in research group and centre activities, including training sessions and workshops, and will become a member of the University’s wider postgraduate research community. Mentoring and support will be provided for the development of a strong academic and professional CV during the PhD.

Academic enquiries


For academic enquiries, please contact . For administrative enquiries about your application, contact . Post application, please contact .

Deadline: 20/04/2020 12:00AM
Interview date: We envisage that interviews will take place in May and June 2020.

Funding Notes

The studentship will cover tuition fees and provide an annual tax-free stipend of £15,000 for three years, subject to satisfactory progress. Applications are welcome from strong UK, EU and International students.

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