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FULLY FUNDED PHD: A comparative approach to identify potential control targets for filarial parasitic nematode infection.

  • Full or part time
    Dr C Britton
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, December 12, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description


Infection with parasitic filarial nematodes causes chronic and debilitating disease in humans, and in dogs infected with the heartworm Dirofilaria immitis.

Anthelmintic drugs are widely used to treat infections, however administration of these has led to drug resistance, currently a major concern for D. immitis.

Alternative approaches involving the development of new drugs or vaccines to control or prevent infection are required.

This project aims to build on existing RNA sequencing data to

1) identify specific genes and proteins upregulated as filarial parasites develop from the larval to adult stage
2) test effect of knockout of specific genes/proteins using gene knockout technology and inhibitor compounds.

The outcomes will help inform design of new therapeutics to block infection and subsequent disease.

This PhD project offers excellent opportunities for training in bioinformatics and molecular biology/genomics/proteomics and in parasite biology.

The student will also gain experience in drug discovery through collaboration with Boehringer-Ingelheim, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Candidates must have an Honours Degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in molecular biology, parasitology, biochemistry, related biological science or a Veterinary/Medical Degree.


Funding Notes

This project is fully funded (UK/EU tuition fees) for 3.5 years with an enhanced stipend, £2K per annum above the standard RCUK rates.

It is funded by a University of Glasgow Industrial Partnership with Boehringer-Ingelheim.




Ghedin E et al. (2007)
Draft genome of the filarial nematode parasite Brugia malayi. Science 317: 1756–60.

Godel C et al. (2012)
The genome of the heartworm, Dirofilaria immitis, reveals drug and vaccine targets. FASEB Journal 26: 4650-4661.

Choi Y-J et al. (2011)
A deep sequencing approach to comparatively analyze the transcriptome of lifecycle stages of the filarial worm, Brugia malayi. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 5(12): e1409.

Luke AN et al. (2014)
Concurrent transcriptional profiling of Dirofilaria immitis and its Wolbachia endosymbiont throughout the nematode life cycle reveals coordinated gene expression. BMC Genomics 15: 1041

Bennuru S et al. (2016) Stage-specific transcriptome and proteome analyses of the filarial parasite Onchocerca volvulus and its Wolbachia endosymbiont. mBio 7(6).

Winter AD et al. (2015)
A novel member of the let-7 microRNA family is associated with developmental transitions in filarial nematode parasites. BMC Genomics 16:331

Landmann, F., Foster, J.M., Slatko, B.E., Sullivan, W. (2012)
Efficient in vitro RNA interference and immunofluorescence-based phenotype analysis in a human parasitic nematode, Brugia malayi. Parasites & Vectors 5: 16.

Voronin, D., Tricoche, N., Jawahar, S., Shlossman, M. et al. (2019)
Development of a preliminary in vitro drug screening assay based on a newly established culturing system for pre-adult fifth-stage Onchocerca volvulus worms. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 13(1): e0007108.

How good is research at University of Glasgow in Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 38.80

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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