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PhD Studentship Opportunity: Radiation-inactivated virus for vaccine development


   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

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  Prof Christine Rollier, Prof G Schettino  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The project aims to investigate the feasibility of using radiation to inactivate virus for vaccine formulation. 

Ionizing radiation could provide an alternative option with significant benefits compared to current vaccine formulations. The concept relies on inactivating the virus by damaging its RNA material without destroying the key epitopes or its structural integrity (retaining therefore the full breadth of antigens targets).

The project aims to investigate the feasibility of using radiation to inactivate virus for vaccine formulation. The recent Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of vaccines and the needs for faster, economically affordable and safer vaccine development methods. Vaccines prevent an estimated 3 million deaths/year worldwide but a further 1.5 million lives/year could be saved with better vaccines and wider coverage (Wellcome). Ionizing radiation could provide an alternative option with significant benefits compared to current vaccine formulations. The concept relies on using ionizing radiation to inactivate the virus by damaging its RNA material without destroying the key epitopes or its structural integrity (retaining therefore the full breadth of antigens targets). Simulations have confirmed that this could be achieved with an optimum selection of radiation quality and dose. The inactivated virus would then be used in combination with an adjuvant to stimulate the immune system response. The project will assess the efficiency of different radiation modalities in virus inactivation, establish dose response curves, develop sample radiation-vaccines and compare their efficacy against chemical and other conventional vaccine modalities using a range of biological systems. Cost-effectiveness and ease of manufacturing, including access to radiation facilities and transport, will also be addressed. 

Entry Requirements

UK or EU applicants who hold a First or 2:1 UK honours degree in a relevant subject area, or a 2:2 alongside a good masters degree (a distinction is usually required).

If English is not your first language, you will be required to have an IELTS Academic of 6.5 or above (or equivalent), with no sub-test score below 6.

How To Apply

Applications can be made through our Physics PhD course page (https://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/physics-phd)

Please mention “Radiation Inactivated Virus for Vaccine Development” in your application

Start Date

October 2022


Funding Notes

The studentship is fully funded (University fees and student stipend) by the University of Surrey, EPSRC and NPL
Stipend: £15,609 pa
University of Surrey, EPSRC, NPL. See attached confirmation letter

References

The project is a collaboration between the University of Surrey (Radiation and Medical Physics Group: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/radiation-and-medical-physics-group and Section of Immunology, School of Biosciences and Medicine: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/school-biosciences-medicine/research/section-immunology) and the National Physical Laboratory (www.npl.co.uk)
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