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Health Protection Agency Studentship at the Institute of Molecular and Experimental Medicine: Determining the mechanism of Mycoplasma evasion of the innate immune system (PhD Studentship)

Reference Number: R814
Closing Date: Closed for applications
Duration: 3 years
Funding Amount: UK/EU fees plus stipend
Level of Study: Postgraduate Research
Regions: EU (Non UK), UK
This funding opportunity is now closed for application

Key Studentship Information

Project Title: Determining the mechanism of Mycoplasma evasion of the innate immune system

Project Description: Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a leading bacterial cause of pneumonia in children of school age and infection can lead to complications such as encephalitis or transverse myelitis. Why some patients have mild disease and others progress to pneumonia/complications is unknown. Mycoplasma hominis is associated with respiratory disease in premature neonates and invasive disease (meningitis, septicaemia) in immunocompromised patients. This PhD project will examine the role of serum killing and elucidate the bacterial components that lead to resistance from bactericidal effects of human sera. Immunological defects in patients with high morbidity and mortality following Mycoplasma infection will also be investigated using sera from a cohort of patients with a range of humoral and innate immunodeficiencies. Using cutting-edge molecular, microbiology, proteomic and immunolobiology techniques, the aim of this PhD studentship is to study and gain further understanding of bacterial and immunological criteria that tip the balance between successful clearance of infection to development of severe clinical signs. In a year that has seen an epidemic of Mycoplasma pneumoniae cases in several European countries this study is both timely and important.

The successful applicant will join a research collaborative team studying Mycoplasma infections and will have access to a broad toolbox of established techniques. The student will be allowed a significant degree of flexibility in his/her approach and will be given training in a broad range of useful techniques including: molecular biology techniques, immunological techniques and microbiology.

The successful applicant will be based primarily in Cardiff University and they will also spend time working at the Health Protection Agency Colindale, London where they will have access to a wealth of Mycoplasma expertise. The student will be jointly supervised by Dr Brad Spiller (Cardiff) and Dr Vicki Chalker (HPA Colindale). They will be registered for a PhD with Cardiff University School of Medicine. This studentship is funded by for 3 years by the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

Funding notes: The studentship is open to UK applicants with a first or upper second class honours undergraduate degree or MSc in an appropriate life science subject e.g. molecular biology, biochemistry, biological sciences. EU applicants must demonstrate a relevant connection to the UK through ordinary residence. As a UK public funded body, the HPA cannot fund applicants from outside the EU. The candidate will have experience in laboratory-based research e.g. an honours project or vacation studentship.

Start Date: 1st October 2012

Number of Awards: 1

Supervisors: Dr. Brad Spiller (Cardiff University) and Dr. Victoria Chalker (HPA)


Funding

Successful applicants will receive an award covering UK/EU tuition fees plus a Doctoral Stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum (£13,590 p.a.).


Eligibility

Academic Criteria: Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals, and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education. EU Nationals who do not meet the above residency requirement are eligible for a fees-only award, provided that they have been ordinarily resident in the EU for at least 3 years prior to the start of their proposed programme of study.

Residency: The studentship is open to UK applicants with a first or upper second class honours undergraduate degree or MSc in an appropriate life science subject e.g. molecular biology, biochemistry, biological sciences.


How to Apply

In the first instance applicants should submit a CV and Covering Letter to Mycoplasma-IMEM@cf.ac.uk


Application Deadline: 5 p.m. April 19th 2012


Further Information

For more information please contact Dr. Brad Spiller on:

Email: Mycoplasma-IMEM@cf.ac.uk



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