Understanding the interaction between viruses and the immune system is critical to our understanding of virus pathogenesis, and of disease itself. It’s also crucial for the development of effective vaccines, whether they are against viruses, bacteria, or cancer. Finally, investigating these processes improves our understanding of the underlying biology of the immune system itself, which has relevance to multiple diseases, including inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. The Viral Immunology Unit in Cardiff has a fully funded PhD to investigate the way that human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) manages to persist lifelong in healthy people, despite inducing one of the strongest immune responses to any known virus. The successful candidate will combine cutting-edge proteomics techniques, virology, and immunology, to investigate how the virus avoids being cleared by the immune system. They will then collaborate with medicinal chemists, to develop small molecule inhibitors that can prevent the virus from evading multiple arms of immunity.
HCMV is a major cause of disease in transplant recipients, and following congenital infection of a foetus. Congenital infection occurs in 1 in 200 births worldwide, and up to 20% of these babies will have lifelong disabilities such as hearing or vision loss, and intellectual disability. The burden of this virus on both society, and healthcare systems, means that improving our understanding of virus persistence, and the development of novel treatments, is a high priority. This PhD will directly target these needs. However, HCMV is also a novel vaccine candidate that as proven exceptionally efficient at inducing immune responses capable of controlling other pathogens, such as HIV, and potentially cancer. The fundamental immunology being investigated has the potential to improve our understanding of why HCMV is such an effective vaccine vector, leading to enhanced design of vaccines against multiple diseases.
Please apply via the Cardiff University website: https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/applying/how-to-apply
Informal queries can be emailed to Dr Richard Stanton ([Email Address Removed]). For more information on our research group, please visit https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/people/view/126743-stanton-richard
The studentship is generously funded by HCRW Open to all UK/EU students without further restrictions Full UK/EU tuition fees Doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum (£15,285 for 2020/21) Funding for consumables is included.
PLEASE NOTE* International applicants are welcomed if the fee difference can be covered.
Applicants should possess a minimum of an upper second class Honours degree, master's degree, or equivalent in a relevant subject. · Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS)
This studentship has a start date of either October 2020 or January 2021. In order to be considered you must submit a formal application via Cardiff University’s online application service. (To access the system click 'Institution Website' to the right of this advert) There is a box at the top right of the page labelled ‘Apply’, please ensure you select the correct ‘Qualification’ (Doctor of Philosophy), the correct ‘Mode of Study’ (Full Time) and the correct ‘Start Date’ (October 2020). This will take you to the application portal. In order to be considered candidates must submit the following information:
• Supporting statement • CV • Qualification certificates • References x 2 • Proof of English language (if applicable) • Research Proposal - In this section of the application, please specify the project title and the name of the Lead Supervisor - Dr Richard Stanton.
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