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Using functional genomics to understand the manipulation of host cell responses during Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Axel Nohturfft
    Dr T Cortes
    Prof S Goodbourn
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Tuberculosis remains one of the deadliest infections worldwide. The cause is Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a bacterium that causes disease by surviving inside host cells – often for years, facing conditions that will be lethal for other bacteria. The molecular mechanisms by which mycobacteria can survive inside human cells are still poorly understood.
This interdisciplinary PhD project will address specifically the question how mycobacteria interfere with host-cell gene regulation to ensure their own survival. The work will involve analyses of large-scale genomics data to identify transcriptional networks in the host that are manipulated during infection. Experimental approaches, including cell and molecular biology techniques, will be directed at unravelling the genetic and molecular mechanisms.

** Retrieval of large genomics datasets from public repositories
** Analysis of genomics data (sequences, gene expression data, molecular interaction data) using R/Bioconductor
** Recombinant DNA methods
** Bacterial culture
** Mammalian cell culture
** Gene transfer and gene editing
** Reporter gene assays
** RNA extraction, quantitative PCR
** (Immuno)fluorescence microscopy

All necessary skills will be taught.

BSc/BA, 1st class or 2(i) in biomedical science, bioinformatics, molecular biology or related. Preferably also MSc/MA in similar field, distinction or merit.

Ordinarily, awards will be for 3.5 years with the expectation that students will gain new skills to allow them to undertake multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary research and they will be required to undertake a 3 month professional internship outside the partnership. Rarely, 1+3 year awards may be made to exceptional candidates to allow them to undertake a full MSc course prior to starting their PhD research. Each studentship will provide a stipend, payment of fees at UK/EU rates, a research allowance and annual travel/conference allowance (amount as per MRC standard studentship rates).

Potential applicants are welcome to contact one of the supervisors about any questions related to this project.

Funding Notes

The current studentship is part of the MRC London Intercollegiate Doctoral Training Partnership (MRC LID) between The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and St. George's University of London (SGUL).
Please click on the following link for more details:


Links to relevant publications are available on the supervisors' websites:
Axel Nohturfft:
Teresa Cortes:
Steve Goodbourn:

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