The University of Kent is offering a PhD opportunity as part of the European collaborative research project titled Health for Dairy Cows (H4DC), which is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Interreg VA 2 Seas programme.
Animal diseases such as Cryptosporidiosis can also pose a threat to human health. Human outbreaks can occur from water collected in areas contaminated by bovine stools. In cattle farms, this common illness is difficult to control without good breeding practices, efficient detection tools or effective pharmaceuticals. Young infected animals spread millions of parasites a day and show stunted growth. This disease leads to a higher mortality rate, which further threaten the economic viability of a sector, which already faces frequent crises. By reducing the impact of cryptosporidiosis in farms, H4DC aims to increase productivity, making farms efficient and successful, with a lower impact on human health. For this purpose, H4DC will design detection tools and devices that can accelerate new drug discovery at the lowest possible cost. The project adopts a twofold approach:
(1) We target to halve the number of contaminated calves in terms of prevention and consequently in terms of economic impact. Positive results from these changes will be controlled and quantified via epidemiologic and economic studies.
(2) We target to accelerate the discovery of new anti-Cryptosporidium pharmaceuticals. We will propose an innovative electronic device for faster analysis of various compounds. Discovery of new compounds against Cryptosporidium is limited by the complete absence of automated and standardized device capturing the complete life cycle of the parasite.
The successful candidate will be expected to:
• Undertake research, including theoretical and applied analysis, to develop novel solutions and adapt existing technology for image processing, analysis and understanding of microscopy images, and design and implement a robotic device, which will enable automated discovery of new compounds against Cryptosporidium.
• Liaise with project partners regarding the integration of the developed solution within the overall project demonstrator
• Publish and disseminate research findings in peer-reviewed journals
• Write reports and produce electronic and other material and content
• Present at seminars and briefings to academic audiences
• Present and participate in international meetings
• Some teaching input and student supervision
• Use research resources as appropriate, plan and manage their research work in collaboration with others.