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Targeting yeast epigenetics to combat anti-fungal resistance

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, December 16, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Project details:

One consequence of climate change is the increased incidence of fungal disease, as global temperatures become more aligned with optimal fungal growth conditions. The very limited current arsenal of antifungal drugs, together with the increasing prevalence of antifungal drug resistance, puts into question our continued ability to fight fungal disease, therefore threatening human health and global food security.

We have identified a novel therapeutic pathway to treat fungal infections caused by the yeast species Candida glabrata. We have shown that removal of the histone deacetylase gene, cgRPD3, not only reverses anti-fungal resistance in this species, rendering it more susceptible to common antifungals, but also attenuates in vivo virulence of this increasingly prevalent human pathogen.

We are interested in designing a yeast specific small molecule inhibitor of the cgRpd3p protein as a potential antifungal drug. Towards this end, this PhD project will focus on the purification and crystallization of recombinant cgRpd3p to obtain structural information on this protein. Informed by these structural studies, site specific cgRPD3 mutants will be engineered and their in vivo phenotypic effects on fungal virulence and anti-fungal drug resistance investigated. This will identify key residues in cgRpd3p that may be suitable targets for protein inhibition.

This project will be supervised by Dr Edel Hyland and Dr Chris Law of Queen’s University School of Biological Sciences.

All applications MUST be submitted through https://dap.qub.ac.uk/portal/user/u_login.php.

Specific skills/experience required by applicants:

A background in protein structure and function.

All applicants must meet the academic entry requirements: https://www.qub.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-research/biological-sciences-phd.html#entry

Funding Notes

Only UK and EU students are eligible to apply. Before applying, it is strongly recommended that you read the full information on eligibility criteria available from DfE: View Website.

Please note in particular that not all successful applicants may be eligible to receive a full studentship (i.e. fees and stipend) - please read in detail the Residency and Citizenship requirements in the document linked to above.

How good is research at Queen’s University Belfast in Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 29.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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