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RVC PhD: Development and evaluation of novel diagnostic tools for Tuberculosis and other mycobacterial pathogens

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  • Full or part time
    Dr B Swift
    Dr S Kendall
    Prof L Good
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Mycobacteria cause a range of diseases including tuberculosis (TB) in both humans and animals. TB is responsible for 1.5 million deaths/year in people and is responsible for huge political and economic costs worldwide in agriculture with bovine TB (World Health Organisation; WHO, and World Animal Health Organisation; OIE). The reliable diagnosis of TB is seen as the cornerstone to every approach to controlling and eliminating these infections, however current diagnostics are ill-suited to tackling these infections. Thus, there is a great need for novel methods of detecting TB. Phage technology has been developed here at the RVC that can rapidly detect tuberculosis infections in a range of species including humans and animals. Phage technology is inexpensive and has the potential to revolutionise the understanding and diagnosis of infections cause by mycobacteria.This PhD project proposes to address the need for novel diagnostics for mycobacterial infections by exploiting current and developing new phage technology.

This will be a highly applied, translational project that will give the opportunity to learn a range of technical abilities including molecular and microbiology skills, handling and manipulating mycobacteria and phage. This project is supported by PBD Biotech which will enable you to develop soft skills, such as understanding how technology is translated from bench to product, interactions with industry and policymakers and the opportunity to develop novel tools and technology that will have a direct impact on individuals suffering from mycobacterial infections.

- Essential Requirements -
-Applicants must hold, or expected to achieve a first or upper second-class undergraduate honours degree or equivalent, or an MSci or Masters in a relevant subject.
-Knowledge or skills in microbiology and/molecular biology
-Knowledge or skills in microbiology and/molecular biology Enthusiasm for applied and translational research

- Desirable Requirements -
-Experience with handling bacteriophages
-Communication skills to a range of levels

Funding Notes

This is a 3 year fully-funded studentship, open to Home/EU applicants. International students are welcome to apply but must be able to fund the difference between UK/EU and international tuition fees.

The studentship will commence October 2020.

If you are interested in applying for this position, please follow the link below. Please use your personal statement to demonstrate any experience or interest you have in translational research.


1 - Swift et al. 2019. 2019. The development and use of Actiphage® to detect viable mycobacteria from bovine tuberculosis and Johne's disease-infected animals. Microb Biotechnol. 2019 Dec 3. doi: 10.1111/1751-7915.13518.
2 - Verma, et al. 2019, A Novel, High-sensitivity, Bacteriophage-based Assay Identifies Low-level Mycobacterium tuberculosis Bacteraemia in Immunocompetent Patients With Active and Incipient Tuberculosis, Clinical Infectious Diseases.
3 - Swift et al. 2016. Evidence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex bacteraemia in intradermal skin test positive cattle detected using phage-RPA. Virulence. DOI: 10.1080/21505594.2016.1191729

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