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Fully-funded White Rose BBSRC DTP Biology project: The oncogenic mechanism and potential of the emergent retrovirus ALV-K in global poultry

   White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology

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  Dr Andrew Mason  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Lead supervisor: Dr Andrew Mason (Department of Biology)

Co-supervisor: Dr Andrew Holding (Department of Biology)

The student will be registered with the Department of Biology 

Avian Leukosis Viruses (ALV) are a group of oncogenic retroviruses which infect chickens, impacting both commercial productivity and animal welfare. In 2012, a new ALV subgroup “K” was isolated from chickens in China, and recombinant viruses have since been reported. Furthermore, ALV typically causes leukemia, but ALV-K has also been associated with glioma, the mechanism for which remains unclear. 

Our recent work has revealed that ALV-K originates from an endogenous ALV-E variant which has emerged from the chicken genome; found commonly in chickens across the world, but particularly in South-East Asia. The conditions for ALV-K emergence are currently unknown, but understanding this process will be important for poultry commercial strategy, as well as developing our understanding of host/retrovirus dynamics across species.

In this predominantly bioinformatic project you will mine public whole genome sequencing datasets and generate new transcriptomic and epigenetic profiles to investigate ALV-K diversity, transcriptional regulation, and oncogenic mechanism(s). You will become proficient in cancer informatics, developing data analysis and management skills with multiple sequencing technologies which are highly transferable to academic, industrial or technological roles. There will also be opportunities to develop lab-based skills to validate bioinformatic results and direct future research.

The Department of Biology holds an Athena SWAN Gold Award. We are committed to supporting equality and diversity and strive to provide a positive working environment for all staff and students.

The WR DTP and the University of York are committed to recruiting future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and we have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills.

Entry Requirements: Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an upper second-class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this programme means that we welcome applications from students with any biological, chemical, and/or physical science backgrounds, or students with mathematical background who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological questions. 

Programme: PhD in Mechanistic Biology (4 years)

Start Date: 1st October 2023

Interviews: Friday 10 February 2023 or Monday 13 February 2023. Please keep these dates free.

Funding Notes

This project is part of the BBSRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology. Appointed candidates will be fully-funded for 4 years. The funding includes:
Tax-free annual UKRI stipend (£17,668 for 2022/23 academic year)
UK tuition fees
Research support and training charges (RSTC)
International students will need to have sufficient funds to cover the costs of their student visa, NHS health surcharge, travel insurance and transport to the UK as these are excluded from UKRI funding.

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