Characterising tuberculosis in the human lung, developing new tools for antimicrobial drug discovery
Application deadline: Monday 30 April 2018
Supervisors: Dr Simon Waddell, Prof Colin Smith
Applications are invited for a 3-year PhD studentship to join our tuberculosis research group in BSMS Department of Global Health and Infection at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS). The project will use cutting-edge whole genome technologies to help understand the molecular basis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis pathogenicity. The studentship, starting in October 2018, is funded by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs).
Tuberculosis (TB) is among the top ten causes of death worldwide and the leading cause of death by an infectious agent. Currently, no system is able to reproduce the complexity of the tuberculous lung, which limits our ability to predict the efficacy of new drugs in patients. New models rooted in the host-pathogen dynamic of the human TB lung will be more representative of human disease and therefore more useful to the discovery of new drugs. This project will use whole-genome molecular profiling tools to characterise Mycobacterium tuberculosis in lung tissue from TB patients and develop a model using insights from both TB phenotype and lung lesion immunology. The project is a collaboration between Dr Simon Waddell at BSMS and Professor Colin Smith at the Genomics and Proteomics Centre in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Brighton. The project offers a wide range of training opportunities and the student will acquire essential skills including microbiology, molecular biology, transcriptomics, bacterial genomics, bioinformatics and working with pathogenic bacteria in a Containment Level 3 facility. This should provide the successful candidate with critical skills and substantial experience to make them a highly competitive candidate for a postdoctoral research position.
The post will be based in the Medical Research Building on Sussex University Falmer campus just outside Brighton. The student will join the Department of Global Health and Infection at BSMS that includes four Professors, seven Senior Lecturers, two Lecturers, two Global Health Teaching Fellows and a range of research fellows and PhD students based both in Brighton and at overseas partner institutions. The Department of Global Health and Infection at BSMS has a vibrant research programme with academic links around the world. Taking an inter-disciplinary approach, we work on existing and newly arising health issues, including neglected tropical and non-communicable diseases as well as infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, HIV and antimicrobial resistance. Students will be encouraged to present their work at national and international conferences and will have the opportunity to travel. BSMS is an equal partnership between the Universities of Sussex and Brighton together with NHS organisations throughout the South East region. The University of Sussex is a leading research-intensive university, ranked in the top 10 in the country for Biological Sciences (www.sussex.ac.uk). The University of Brighton is a complex and diverse institution with a long and distinguished history of applied research.
Applicants for this 3-year PhD funded by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) starting in October 2018 should hold, or realistically expect to obtain, at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent in microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry or similar.
As the project is pre-defined, please enter the project title "Characterising tuberculosis in the human lung, developing new tools for antimicrobial drug discovery", in place of a project proposal on the application form.
Posts are open to UK nationals. EU nationals, who have spent at least 3 years prior to this application resident in the UK, are also eligible. Funding provides full support for tuition fees, associated project costs, and a tax-free stipend of approx. £16,000 per annum.
Informal enquiries about the project should be directed to Dr Simon Waddell. For more details of the funder please visit View Website.
Honeyborne I, McHugh TD, Kuittinen I, Cichonska A, Evangelopoulos D, Ronacher K, van Helden PD, Gillespie SH, Fernandez-Reyes D, Walzl G, Rousu J, Butcher PD and Waddell, SJ (2016) Profiling persistent tubercule bacilli from patient sputa during therapy predicts early drug efficacy. BMC Medicine, 14 (68).
Evangelopoulos D, Fonseca JD and Waddell SJ (2015) Understanding anti-tuberculosis drug efficacy: rethinking bacterial populations and how we model them. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 32. pp. 76-80.
Salina EG, Waddell SJ, Hoffmann N, Rosenkrands I, Butcher PD and Kaprelyants AS (2014) Potassium availability triggers Mycobacterium tuberculosis transition to, and resuscitation from, non-culturable (dormant) states. The Open Biology Journal, 4 (10).