University of East Anglia Featured PhD Programmes
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Featured PhD Programmes
University of Reading Featured PhD Programmes

The development of the respiratory immune system in early life

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, April 13, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

We seek a highly motivated PhD student to study mucosal immunology of the infant airway and the responses to viral infections. Immediately after birth, the respiratory epithelium is coated with allergens, dust, pollutants and is colonised by commensal bacteria. The airway must tolerate benign elements of this invasion, avoiding damaging inflammatory responses whilst simultaneously defending against viral, fungal and bacterial pathogens. How the immune system in the human airway strikes this delicate balance during early life is poorly understood.
This project aims to chart the effects of respiratory viral infections of the infant airway, relating these changes to the development of lung disorders in later childhood (e.g. wheeze and childhood asthma). This opportunity will equip the candidate with the skills required for a career in academia and industry, working with state of art technologies (e.g. single cell RNA sequencing, proteomics analysis and cell culture assays) in an interactive, collaborative team spanning academia and industry.
This project is funded by the BBSRC and is part of an ongoing, productive, collaboration between researchers at Imperial College London and AstraZeneca. The successful candidate will be based at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, but will have the opportunity to also work in the laboratories of the Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity (RIA) division of AstraZeneca. This exciting collaboration creates a unique opportunity for scientific excellence and career development in translational research.
The PhD student will be supervised by Dr Ryan Thwaites and Professor Peter Openshaw (Imperial College London) and Dr Xavier Romero Ros and Dr Suzanne Cohen (Bioscience-Asthma early RIA AstraZeneca).

Application Process
To apply, please submit a one-page personal statement detailing your academic background and research interests, a CV and contact information of two professional/academic references to Dr Ryan Thwaites via email () by 11pm on 13th April 2020. Informal enquiries should also be directed to Dr Thwaites. The studentship is expected to start in October 2020.

The ideal candidate should have an excellent academic track record and have obtained an undergraduate degree at 2:1 level or higher and, normally, a Master’s degree with merit or higher (or non-UK equivalents) in immunology, cell biology, biochemistry or another relevant field. Candidates without a Master’s level degree but with significant laboratory experience will be considered. Laboratory experience is essential and proficiency in flow cytometry, cell culture and data analysis are desirable. Eligible candidates should be self-motivated, proactive, have excellent oral/written communication abilities and be able to work well within a multidisciplinary translational research team.

Funding Notes

This position is available as a fully funded PhD studentship, including 3.5 years of tuition fees and provides a 3.5-year, tax-free stipend (home and EU candidates) at the standard Research Council London rate. For more information on Imperial’s commitment to the success of EU students enrolled in 2019/2020: View Website

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