Targeted delivery of antimicrobial compounds against the neglected tropical disease Leishmaniasis and the potentially blinding infection Acanthamoeba keratitis

   Faculty of Science and Engineering

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  Dr Wayne Heaselgrave  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Acanthamoeba is free-living amoeba with a worldwide distribution that can cause a potentially blinding infection of the cornea called Acanthamoeba keratitis. The infection is usually found in contact lens wearers, and it is probably difficult eye infection to manage due to the absence of a licenced treatment. Current treatments do exist, but treatment times range from 6-30 months with many patients required corneal transplantation (25%) and surgical removal of the eye (5%).

Leishmania causes the neglected tropical disease Leishmaniasis which is found worldwide throughout the tropics. The disease is transmitted by sandflies and causes symptoms ranging from skin sores, facial disfigurements as well as damage to the liver and spleen. With an estimated 2 million cases per year and 70,000 deaths treatment involves intravenous amphotericin B which is highly toxic to the kidneys and oral miltefosine which is a potent teratogen which causes abortion and foetal abnormalities.

There is an urgent need to develop improved treatment strategies for both Leishmaniasis and Acanthamoeba keratitis.

Leishmania is a flagellated protozoan parasite that resides within human macrophages making it difficult to deliver sufficient quantities of antimicrobial compounds intracellular location. Acanthamoeba on the other hand is a free-living amoeba that engulfs its prey using a similar phagocytic process. The project aims to develop drug loaded lipid nanoparticles for the targeted delivery of antimicrobial compounds to improve the treatment of these two infections.

Further details (or informal enquiries) can be obtained via direct email to Director of Studies, Dr Wayne Heaselgrave [Email Address Removed]


To apply for the PhD Research Studentship applicants must hold a first class/distinction at Master and/or Bachelor level of study.

Applications to include one identified project, a full CV (including 2 referee names and contact details), transcripts and a letter of application outlining the motivation for applying (maximum of 2 pages). Applicants from outside UK must provide evidence of English Language requirement as stated in

Application submission deadline is 10:00am BST 19 June 2023 to [Email Address Removed]

A shortlist of candidates will be prepared from the pool of applicants, in line with Faculty of Science and Engineering Post Graduate Research (PGR) studentship selection criteria, who will be invited to attend an interview with a panel of academic staff, week commencing 26 June 2023.

Following this process all successful candidates will be notified to enrol in July 2023 on a PhD degree programme. The studentship award will include tuition fees at home level for the first three years of full-time study including any write-up period fees and research support fees.

For further information on fees

Informal enquiries are welcome and should be directed to individual Director of Studies mentioned above.

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