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Regulation of Transcription Factor NF-KB by Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (bRSV) Small Hydrophobic (SH) Protein in Bovine Dendritic Cells

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  • Full or part time
    Dr E Guzman
    Prof A J Easton
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Applications are invited for a PhD position, starting in October 2016, in a Pirbright Institute-funded collaborative project between Dr Efrain Guzman of The Pirbright Institute and Prof Andrew Easton of the University of Warwick ( to study the modulation of the transcription factor NF-kB in dendritic cells by the small hydrophobic protein of bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV).

RSV is a major respiratory pathogen and infects cells of the respiratory tract inducing inflammation and damage to the lungs. Antigen presenting cells (APC) such as macrophages and dendritic cells (DC) are major contributors in this inflammation. Many of the processes induced during inflammation are regulated by the transcription factor NF-B (nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells) and we have shown that the small hydrophobic (SH) protein of BRSV regulates the function of NF-kB but we still don’t understand how this process occurs.

The aim of the project is to determine how BRSV SH protein regulates NF-B in bovine DC. Firstly, the student will determine the minimum region of SH required for regulation of NF-B; secondly, the mechanism of NF-kB regulation by SH will be investigated; lastly, the effects of SH expression on DC function will be determined.

The student will learn molecular biology, protein biochemistry, molecular and cellular immunology at both Pirbright and Warwick, will receive training in state-of-the-art technologies and will benefit from being embedded in two lead laboratories, thus gaining invaluable experience from cross-disciplinary research, preparing them for future careers in either academia or industry.

Funding Notes

A BBSRC fully funded project open to UK students and eligible EU students who qualify for home-rated fees in line with BBSRC criteria:
Eligible students will receive a minimum tax-free stipend of £14,057 - university fees will be paid.
Open to science graduates (with, or who anticipate, at least a 2.1 or equivalent in a relevant biological subject in an undergraduate degree, or a Masters degree - subject to university regulations). Other first degrees considered.
Students without English as a first language must provide evidence of IELTS score of 7.0, no less than 6.5 in any subsections (or equivalent).


1. Taylor G, Wyld S, Valarcher JF, Guzman E et al. 2014. Recombinant Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus with Deletion of the SH gene Induces Increased Apoptosis in vitro, and is Attenuated and Induces Protective Immunity in Calves. J Gen Virol. 95, 1244-1254
2. Guzman E and Taylor G. 2014. Immunology of bovine respiratory syncytial virus in calves. Mol Immunol. 66(1):48-56
3. Ling R, Sinkovic S, Toquin D, Guionie O, Eterradossi N, Easton AJ. Deletion of the SH gene from avian metapneumovirus has a greater impact on virus production and immunogenicity in turkeys than deletion of the G gene or M2-2 open reading frame. J Gen Virol. 2008 Feb;89(Pt 2):525-33

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