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  Role of endosymbiotic bacteria in vectors of Schmallenberg and bluetongue viruses (Liverpool)

   Institute of Infection and Global Health

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  Prof M Baylis  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

This exciting project will combine field and laboratory studies to further our understanding of the role played by endosymbiotic bacteria in the transmission of vector-borne disease and the potential for novel methods of vector control. An endosymbiotic bacterium, called Cardinium, has recently been discovered for the first time in UK biting midges, the insects that spread viral diseases called bluetongue and Schmallenberg to sheep and cattle. Both of these diseases have occurred in the UK for the first time in recent years. Biting midges also transmit African horse sickness, the most lethal infectious horse disease, which threatens Europe, including the UK. There are no means at present to control biting midge populations. Endosymbiotic bacteria are now being used to help stop the transmission of certain mosquito-borne viral diseases. An endosymbiont called Wolbachia has been introduced into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes as a means of controlling dengue; this is achieved because Wolbachia spread rapidly through wild mosquito populations because of 'cytoplasmic incompatibility', and also reduce the replication of the dengue virus in them.rnThis project therefore offers an exciting opportunity to combine both field and laboratory work in a cutting-edge study looking at the role played by the newly-discovered endosymbiotic bacteria in the life histories of biting midges, and their potential for controlling the spread of midge-borne viral diseases.

For further information see the website:

To apply:
Please submit a full CV and covering letter directly to [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year BBSRC studentship under the Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham DTP. The successful applicant will receive research costs, tuition fees and stipend (£14,057 for 2015/16). The PhD will start in October 2015. Applicants should have, or be expecting to receive, a 2.1 Hons degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. EU candidates must have been resident in the UK for 3 years in order to receive full support. There are 2 stages to the application process.


Lewis SE, Rice A, Hurst GDD and Baylis M (2014). First detection of endosymbotic bacteria in Culicoides pulicaris and Culicoides punctatus, important Palearctic vectors of bluetongue virus. Medical and Veterinary Entomology. DOI: 10.1111/mve.12055

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