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Exposing drivers for parasite growth and virulence at the single cell level


Project Description

Project details:

Parasites infect one third of the human population, causing staggering levels of morbidity. They also blight food production systems by undermining plant and animal health globally. In human and animal hosts, their manipulation of host immune function undermines vaccine development and available drugs have falling efficacy in the face of drug resistance, exposing a situation that is unsustainable unless improved control strategies emerge. Fincher et al. (2018) reported the first single cell sequencing of an entire metazoan animal, generating a cell-based transcriptomic atlas for a free-living flatworm. This work provides a blueprint for a new approach to metazoan biology that allows single-cell data to support a better understanding of complex living systems. This project will exploit new single-cell transcriptome data for liver fluke to drive predictions of cell functions that support growth and virulence. This project will then test these predictions/hypotheses using robust functional genomics tools and diverse bioassays we have developed for juvenile liver fluke. By interfacing single cell sequence data with the molecular tools at our disposal, this project will enhance understanding of selected parasite cells, including stem cells, and drive new drug target discovery and validation pipelines for parasite control.

This project will be supervised by Professor Aaron Maule, Dr Paul McVeigh, and Dr Nikki Marks of Queen’s University School of Biological Sciences.

All applications MUST be submitted through https://dap.qub.ac.uk/portal/user/u_login.php.

Specific skills/experience required by applicants:

Some molecular biology and bioinformatics experience is desirable, but not critical.

All applicants must meet the academic entry requirements: https://www.qub.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-research/biological-sciences-phd.html#entry

Funding Notes

Only UK and EU students are eligible to apply. Before applying, it is strongly recommended that you read the full information on eligibility criteria available from DfE: View Website.

Please note in particular that not all successful applicants may be eligible to receive a full studentship (i.e. fees and stipend) - please read in detail the Residency and Citizenship requirements in the document linked to above.

How good is research at Queen’s University Belfast in Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 29.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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