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Mechanistic insights into VapA and the treatment of Rhodococcus equi.


   York Biomedical Research Institute

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  Dr P Pryor  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Rhodococcus equi (R. equi) infects a range of grazing animals and poses a threat to animal health especially that of horses. It represents a significant economic burden to the horse-breeding industry (losses are valued at $2-4M annually in Australia alone) and antibiotic resistance is becoming more prevalent. This study is concerned with the protein VapA from R. equi, which is essential for its survival inside cells and therefore to cause disease. Despite its central importance, very little is known about how it works. We have determined that VapA neutralises the activity of the lysososme which normally digests invading bacteria. The studentship aims to determine exactly how VapA works mechanistically and derive strategies to treat R. equi infections by stimulating host defences to kill R. equi rather than rely on antibiotics, which promotes antibiotic resistance. The project will primarily employ microbiology, molecular biology and cell biology techniques (immunofluorescence, western blotting, protein-protein interactions, proteomics).

This project is part of the York Biomedical Research Institute (YBRI) PhD Programme in Biomedical Science at the University of York.

YBRI is committed to recruiting extraordinary 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 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: In order to qualify for this studentship, you will require an undergraduate veterinary degree or bioscience degree with at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent. International students whose first language is not English are required to have an acceptable English language certificate. Candidates are expected to pursue a research career in the equine field, with particular reference to the racing, breeding or rearing of the Thoroughbred horse in Britain at the end of the studentship.

Programme: PhD in Biomedical Science (4 years)

Start Date: 1st Januany 2023, 1st February 2023 or 1st March 2023

Eligibility: UK and international students are eligible to apply. A successful international candidate will need to pay the difference between UK tuition fees and international tuition fees. International candidates would need to have sufficient funds to pay for their relocation/travel expenses to the UK, visa fees and healthcare surchage

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Funding Notes

This is a 4 year studentship funded by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB). The funding covers expenses for laboratory work, tuition fees at UK rate, and a tax-free stipend. Depending upon the degree qualifications the stipend will start in the first year at £21,500-£27,000, with an annual increment of approximately £500. The funding excludes expenses with relocation/travel to/from the UK, visa fees and healthcare surcharge.

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