The rise of antibiotic resistance, compounded with growing populations of immunocompromised people, make bacterial
pathogens one of the most important threats to human health. Host-directed therapies to harness the exceptional power of the
immune system have low propensity for resistance development and are a promising alternative to antibiotics.
Intracellular bacterial pathogens take advantage of direct access to cellular nutrient pools and use host cells as hide-out from
patrolling immune cells. This does not only require the blockade of intracellular defence mechanisms, but also inhibition of
host cell stress responses to maintain a “pseudo”-homeostasis, which prevents cell death before the bacteria can exploit all
We identified a new family of Legionella pneumophila effectors, which share similarity to mammalian enzymes that modulate
ubiquitin-like modifiers (UBLs) and seem to target proteins involved in maintaining cellular homeostasis; however, roles of
these targets in host-pathogen interaction have not been described yet.
Using a wide range of cutting-edge microbiology, cell biology and biochemistry methods including gene-editing, infection
assays, microscopy and proteomics this interdisciplinary project aims to (1) characterise the activities of the effectors, (2)
dissect their roles and the roles of their target proteins in host subversion and response to Legionella and bacterial infection in
general and (3) assess the potential to target these mechanisms to limit infection.
To achieve this, the supervisory team will provide access to technical knowhow and mentoring to support the candidate's
development of essential research skills, project management, writing and communication, all underpinning a successful career in biomedical research.
You must hold or expect to get an upper second class honours degree from a university in the UK or Ireland, or qualifications and experience considered by the University as equivalent to that standard. Candidates who already hold a doctoral degree, or who have registered on a PhD for one year (or part-time equivalent) or not eligible.
English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.
International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.
For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
Other projects included in this competition: