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Study of virus-cell interactions during herpes simplex virus latency in human neuronal cells

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Nicoll
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Position: PhD Student
Division: Virology, NIBSC
Location: South Mimms, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire
Reference number: NB312
Grade and salary range: PhD Student - £18,500 annual stipend
Contract type: 3 year fixed term contract


The Organisation:
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency enhance and improve the health of millions of people every day through the effective regulation of medicines and medical devices, underpinned by science and research. The agency is made up of circa 1300 staff working across two main centres and peripatetically across the UK and abroad.

A centre of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) is a global leader in the characterisation, standardisation and control of biological medicines. NIBSC plays a major role in assuring the quality of biological medicines worldwide through the provision of biological reference materials, by testing products and carrying out research. Our expert scientists also provide advice on a routine basis and in response to emergencies.

Purpose of role:
The division of Virology deals with all issues related to viruses and biological medicinal products. Its central activity is to assess the virological quality of biological medicines. A three year PhD studentship is available in collaboration with the Department of Medicine at Imperial College, London. The focus of the studentship will be the study of virus-cell interactions during herpes simplex virus latency in human neuronal cells.

Herpes simplex viruses are ubiquitous pathogens that establish latent infection in sensory neurons, from which the virus periodically reactivates over the lifetime of the human host. Using reporter mouse models, we have previously observed that viral non-coding RNA expressed during latency enhances the long-term survival of infected neurons as well as restricting virus transcription and reactivation. However, the function and potential mechanism(s) of viral non-coding RNA action in human neurons is unclear. As well as potentially providing an avenue to prevent recurrent herpes disease, understanding HSV-neuron interactions is increasingly important due to the ongoing development of HSV vectors for vaccination, gene and oncolytic therapy.

The aims of this project will be to investigate whether virus gene expression during latency influences the molecular biology of human neuronal cells, and how any such manipulation affects cell biology, survival and virus reactivation. The successful candidate will be trained in a wide array in techniques in molecular virology, including reporter gene analyses, RNAseq, and click-chemistry, as well as the use of human neuroblastoma-derived cell lines and human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons.

Key responsibilities:
• To undertake the research projects in line with the project aims
• To communicate effectively, orally and through written media, undertake presentations at scientific meetings and maintain excellent records.
• To interact regularly and effectively with your supervisors and interact appropriately and effectively with other staff.
• To meet the expectations of the study for a PhD by the awarding body (University).

How to apply:
Please submit a CV and a covering letter detailing what you can bring to the post and what you would anticipate achieving from the studentship by emailing [email protected] This studentship is expected to start on 1st October 2016.

You must have or expect to obtain a 1 or 2.1 class qualification in an appropriate life science degree.

We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from suitably qualified people regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, race, religion, politics or disability. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency commits itself to the Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS). This means that it guarantees to interview all disabled candidates (as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995), who satisfy the minimum essential criteria for the advertised post. If a candidate wishes to apply for consideration under this scheme, please include this in your covering letter.

Due to the volume of applications we expect to receive we will only contact successful candidates. If you have not heard back in the next 28 days please assume you have been unsuccessful.

Please note funding is available for UK and European Economic Area (EEA) nationals only.

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