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The antiviral role and therapeutic potential of novel seaweed-derived compounds

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  • Full or part time
    Prof J Stewart
    Prof Julian Hiscox
    Dr A Kipar
  • 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

This industrial CASE project will address the antiviral properties of novel compounds extracted from seaweed using Influenza A virus (IAV) as a model animal virus to explore its potential to limit viral infection in vivo.
Influenza A virus (IAV) causes high impact respiratory disease in animals and humans. It can cause severe disease outbreaks in domestic poultry that are of economic importance and zoonotic transmission is a major worldwide health concern. There are vaccines and antiviral drugs to combat influenza. However, due to rapid virus evolution these are often ineffective. It is therefore important to develop novel prophylactic and therapeutic interventions to attenuate or limit influenza virus infection.
The industrial partner, Byotrol has isolated and identified a component of seaweed (SE) that has potent antiviral properties and low toxicity. Combining in vitro and in vivo approaches the student will define the precise mechanism of SE inhibition of virus infection and determine its therapeutic potential. This will involve studying binding, entry and infection using 3D organotypic cultures in vitro as well as investigating the potential of SE to block or treat influenza infection and disease in a mouse model. The effect of SE on the immune response to influenza infection will also be investigated. The student will therefore gain a broad set of skills from molecular virology and cell biology through to in vivo work, immunology and pathology, as well as experience of working within an industrial environment.

Applications should be made by emailing [Email Address Removed] with a CV (including contact details of at least two academic (or other relevant) referees), and a covering letter – clearly stating your first choice project, and optionally 2nd and 3rd ranked projects, as well as including whatever additional information you feel is pertinent to your application; you may wish to indicate, for example, why you are particularly interested in the selected project(s) and at the selected University. Applications not meeting these criteria will be rejected.
In addition to the CV and covering letter, please email a completed copy of the Additional Details Form (Word document) to [Email Address Removed]. A blank copy of this form can be found at:
Informal enquiries may be made to [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year BBSRC CASE studentship under the Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham DTP. The successful applicant will receive research costs, tuition fees and stipend (£15,009 for 2019-20). The PhD will start in October 2020. 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. Please note, there are 2 stages to the application process.


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