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PhD in Infection & Immunity - Understanding immune stimulation of novel viral vaccine vectors

  • Full or part time

    Dr E Wang
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, February 27, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is an exciting viral vaccine vector, that can protect against HIV and cancer in animal models. However it is also a pathogen that causes significant disease and death on a worldwide level, mainly in transplant recipients and unborn babies. In both these cases, understanding the immune response to the virus is crucial in order to optimise the effectiveness of HCMV-based vaccines, or to enable the immune system to control the virus so that it doesn’t cause disease.

We combine expertise in virology and immunology with proteomics in order to build a global picture of how HCMV manipulates the human immune system. These ‘manipulations’ of host immunity result in the virus being able to replicate and cause disease despite it being strongly recognised by all arms of the immune system. By characterising the molecular interactions that underpin this ability of the virus to ‘hide’, we aim to reveal ways in which the immune system can be enhanced to control the virus, ways in which HCMV-based vaccine vectors can be stimulated to produce even stronger immune responses against other diseases, as well as revealing the mechanistic underpinnings by which the immune system controls pathogens.

HCMV infects multiple cell types, including professional antigen presenting cells (APCs), which would normally drive a strong antiviral immune response. This particular project aims to determine how HCMV manipulates these APCs, so that the immune response they generate is not able to kill infected cells. Quantitative proteomic analysis of infected APCs will be used to identify host proteins that the virus manipulates in order to influence APC function. Molecular manipulation of viruses and functional immunological assays will then be used to follow up individual hits, ultimately determining the molecular interactions that govern the interactions between HCMV and the immune system, and their consequences for infection and vaccination.

Funding Notes

The studentship is generously funded by the School of Medicine
Full UK/EU tuition fees
Doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum
Additional funding is available over the course of the programme and will cover costs such as research consumables and training.
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)


In order to be considered you must submit a formal application via Cardiff University’s online application service. (To access the system click 'Apply Online' at the bottom 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 2019). This will take you to the application portal.
Candidates are only permitted to submit one application but may select a maximum of three projects, ranked in order of preference in the ‘Research Proposal’ section of the application. 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)

Related Subjects

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