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  Understanding immunological memory to malaria

   Hull York Medical School

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  Dr Damián Pérez-Mazliah  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

An essential feature of the immune response to infectious pathogens is that it is enhanced by a second exposure. This outstanding mechanism of “remembering” previous exposures to a given pathogen, termed immunological memory, forms the basis for vaccination. Better understanding of the signals that regulate memory of B cells, white blood cells that produce antibodies, is key to develop improved vaccination regimes. However, studying the development of B cell memory is challenging as it requires identification and isolation of rare pathogen-specific B cells that exist often at very low frequencies. To circumvent this problem, we have generated novel genetic tools which allow tracking and isolating B cells specific to Plasmodium parasites (Perez-Mazliah et al., eLIFE, 2018), the pathogen that causes malaria. The successful candidate will combine this novel tool with cutting-edge transcriptomics, proteomics and transgenic mouse models to dissect novel mechanisms involved in the development of B cell memory.

The candidate will join on a full-time basis a young and dynamic research team based at the University of York (Perez Mazliah lab). The candidate will further benefit from co-supervision of Professors Gavin Wright and Jean Langhorne, leaders in the field of malaria research, and Dr Dinis Calado, leader in the field of B cell research, based at York and the Francis Crick Institute. The candidate will be expected to travel to London from time to time to engage with co-supervisors and peers based at the Francis Crick Institute. The candidate will graduate with a clear understanding of mouse models of immunity and infection, cutting-edge molecular immunology technologies, as well as strong laboratory and transferrable skills.

The successful candidate will have a very strong background knowledge in immunology, gained through either undergraduate or MSc studies. Additional wet lab experience and knowledge on B cell biology will be advantageous.

For informal inquiries, please contact Dr Damian Perez Mazliah, [Email Address Removed]  

Location and Research Culture

The project will take place within the Experimental Medicine and Biomedicine group at Hull York Medical School at the University of York, including the HYMS Skin Research Centre.

Hull York Medical School is a unique partnership bringing together the expertise of both the Universities of Hull and York and offering a thriving environment in which to conduct world-leading research. Strong partnerships with NHS Trusts and community health organisations offer a wide clinical base that fosters translation of biomedical research to improve health. Our research is a key component of the York Biomedical Research Institute.

You will be part of a vibrant post-graduate community within the medical school but also interacting with students from other PhD Programmes at the University of York. You will have access to the University of York Biosciences Technology Facility, allowing the use of cutting-edge equipment to support the research as needed for the project (e.g. imaging, bioinformatics etc.) You will be supported by a thesis advisory panel, and will follow a training programme on transferable and research skills.

Named Academic

Dr Damian Perez Mazliah, Royal Society University Research Fellow, [Email Address Removed]

Start Date

1st October 2024

Qualification Required

In order to qualify for this scholarship you will require an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.1, or equivalent, in a relevant subject. English Language IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component.

How to Apply

All applications MUST BE submitted to Hull York Medical School via the online application method choosing option PhD in Medical Sciences October, full time or part time:

The deadline for applications is the 28th March 2024

In order for the Panel to get a sense of your academic background, commitment and interest, you are required to complete the application form in full and provide a research proposal/outline of academic interest. Research proposals and personal statements may be used in selecting applicants for interview. If you have any queries on how to apply please email [Email Address Removed].

Please note that this is a student scholarship. If you will be employed by HYMS (e.g. on a fixed or short-term contract) for the duration of your study, you will not be eligible to receive the student scholarship as a member of HYMS staff. 


Applicants who are shortlisted for interview will be contacted via email. If you are not invited for the interview, it means that your application has not been successful. Please note that we do not offer feedback to applicants who are not invited to the interview.

Biological Sciences (4) Medicine (26)

Funding Notes

This 4-year full-time studentship will be funded by the Hull York Medical School. The funding will include:
- Tax-free annual UKRI stipend (£TBC for 2024/25 academic year)
- UK tuition fees.
- Research support and training charges, covering laboratory consumables and training costs.
- International and EU students will need to have sufficient funds to cover the difference in fee costs (see laboratory-based degrees here) and the costs of their student visa, NHS health surcharge, travel insurance and transport to the UK as these will not be covered by the studentship.

Where will I study?