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Analysis of innate immune responses to invasive fungal infections using an in vivo zebrafish larval whole animal model system.

Project Description

My group (www.voelz-lab.com) is interested in host-pathogen interactions at the molecular and cellular level. We study the interactions between phagocytic effector cells of the innate immune system (macrophage and neutrophils) and fungal spores using a whole animal in vivo zebrafish larval model system. We hope to understand how fungal pathogens circumvent and hijack the human immune system to establish often fatal disease.
My lab has recently established a zebrafish Danio rerio larval model to study the molecular pathogenesis mechanisms involved in fungal disease. The lab now uses the transparent larvae to examine the interaction between the host and fungal spores on a cellular level across the whole animal by microscopic real- time studies. We also employ genetic approaches to investigate virulence pathways and high-throughput screening to identify immunomodulatory strategies harnessing patient’s immune response to improve therapy.
During your PhD you will gain experience in a range of state-of-the-art methodologies including the use of zebrafish larva Danio rerio as a model system, microinjections, real-time high-resolution microscopy, molecular methodologies (e.g. for DNA and protein analysis), cellular techniques (e.g. cell culture, infection assays), microbiological methods and biochemistry techniques (e.g. immunofluorescence, immunoassays).
For further details about the project please contact Dr Kerstin Voelz ().

At the University of Birmingham, School of Biosciences, Institute of Microbiology and Infection, you will be part of a vibrant and lively postgraduate community and one of the world-leading institutes for microbiological and infectious disease research.
If you are an enthusiastic scientist with an interest in host-pathogen interactions, looking for a PhD position to commence in October 2015, we would be happy to hear from you. A background in genetics, cell biology, microbiology or immunology would be helpful, but is not required. A keen and enthusiastic approach to science, together with the ability to take responsibility for your own project within a young, dynamic research team, is essential.

Please find additional funding text below. For further funding details, please see the ‘Funding’ section.
The School of Biosciences offers a number of UK Research Council (e.g. BBSRC, NERC) PhD studentships each year. Fully funded research council studentships are normally only available to UK nationals (or EU nationals resident in the UK) but part-funded studentships may be available to EU applicants resident outside of the UK. The deadline for applications for research council studentships is 31 January each year.

Each year we also have a number of fully funded Darwin Trust Scholarships. These are provided by the Darwin Trust of Edinburgh and are for non-UK students wishing to undertake a PhD in the general area of Molecular Microbiology. The deadline for this scheme is also 31 January each year.

Funding Notes

All applicants should indicate in their applications how they intend to fund their studies. We have a thriving community of international PhD students and encourage applications at any time from students able to find their own funding or who wish to apply for their own funding (e.g. Commonwealth Scholarship, Islamic Development Bank).

The postgraduate funding database provides further information on funding opportunities available View Website and further information is also available on the School of Biosciences website View Website

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 42.80

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

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