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Full characterization of bacterial sialylated envelope components

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Prof Alba Silipo No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
Naples Italy Analytical Chemistry Biochemistry Biophysics Computational Chemistry Immunology Organic Chemistry Physical Chemistry Polymer Chemistry Structural Biology Structural Chemistry

About the Project

MSCA-ITN fully funded PhD position available at Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Napoli Federico II (Italy) within Innovative Training Network (ITN) GLYTUNES. The MSCA-ITN offers a highly competitive salary, the ESRs will be contractually employed for 36 months by the recruiting organisation and will be covered under the related national social security scheme. ESRs will receive a Monthly Living Allowance plus additional monthly mobility and family allowance. GLYTUNES ITN represents a novel, pioneering platform for understanding and exploiting the Siglecs-glycans cross-talk by harnessing the synergy of combining chemical to biological, biophysical, immunological research strategies and finally translating this knowledge into novel diagnostics and therapeutics. The aim is to i) unravel the mechanisms governing sialo-glycans recognition by the immune surface receptors Siglecs, and ii) enable the rational design and development of novel therapeutic and diagnostic strategies against immune and infectious diseases.

Eligibiliy rules: A ESR shall, at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, be in the first four years of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree. The four years start to count from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle him/her to embark on a doctorate

PHD PROJECT DESCRIPTION "Full characterization of bacterial sialylated envelope components" (ESR1)

Pathogens exploitation of inhibitory Siglecs: Pathogens can shield their envelope glycans with self-ligands, with the aim of dampening host immune responses. Feared human pathogens such as membrane-enveloped viruses and bacteria such as GBS, C. jejuni, H. influenzae, P. aeruginosa, N. meningitides and gonhorreae, F. nucleatus, are coated with sialic acid containing ligands that can be potentially recognized by inhibitory Siglecs, this allowing to escape host immune responses by averting detection and immune elimination, promoting successful bacterial colonization and tolerance

Aims: Science: The project aims to assess the structure and function of cell envelope components isolated from bacterial sialylated envelope glycans. ii) determine conformation and 3D structure of isolated microbial glycans; Training: Expertise in glycomics, microbial glycans structural and chemical biology, organic chemistry, carbohydrate chemistry and biochemistry, analytical chemistry, isolation, purification and characterization of microbial glycans (LPS, EPS, CPS….), NMR spectroscopy and MS spectrometry, computational methods for building 3D complex carbohydrate structures; stage(s) in the industry

Expected Results: Formation of the ESR with a solid knowledge in glycomics, glycosciences, structural biology of glycoconjugates. Definition of the structure to function relationships of bacterial cell envelope compounds. Establishment of the molecular mimicry of host glycans from different microbial strains. Stage in the industry; PhD thesis

Enrolment in Doctoral degree(s): ESR will be enrolled at University of Naples Federico II

Project-specific selection criteria: good skills in glycomics and glycosciences, carbohydrate chemistry and biochemistry, organic chemistry, glycans structure and biology; good knowledge of techniques for glycans structural biology, as isolation, purification methodologies, NMR spectroscopic, biophysical, spectrometric techniques; microbial glycomics.

Applications: Details on the application and recruitment process can be found on the dedicated GLYTUNES Before applying all applicants should read the eligibility criteria for the MSCA-ITN PhD program on the ITN program ( and

Please forward your documents by email to: (Alba Silipo)

Funding Notes

Innovative Training Network (ITN) GLYTUNES funded by the European Union Horizon 2020
Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 956758
Details on the application and recruitment process can be found on the dedicated GLYTUNES View Website
Applicants should read the eligibility criteria for the MSCA-ITN PhD program on the ITN program:
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