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Investigating Cryptosporidium host-parasite interactions

Funded by Health-4-Dairy-Cows project under the Interreg-2-seas EU programme. 

Full UK Research Council stipend award of £15,009 (rate for 2019/20) plus tuition fees at the Home/EU rate.  International applicants should make provision to meet the difference between Home/EU and International fees. 

This is a 3-year funded PhD studentship starting on the 1 August 2019.

Project 
Cryptosporidium is a single-celled intracellular eukaryotic parasite infecting nearly all animals. Members of this group are also opportunistic parasites of immunocompromised humans, causing cryptosporidiosis, the second most prevalent diarrhoeal disease in children. In addition, cryptosporidiosis is a common disease in cattle farms, where is difficult to control without good husbandry practices, efficient detection tools and effective pharmaceuticals. Infection of Juvenile animals with Cryptosporidium results in stunted growth. 
Although Cryptosporidium belongs to the phylum Apicomplexa (a phylum of medical and veterinary importance that includes significant parasites such as Plasmodium and Toxoplasma), it differs from other members of the group both at biochemical and cellular levels. This makes it resistant to all commonly used antimicrobials employed to treat other parasites of the group. Thus, there is urgent need for discovery and/or development of new drugs to tackle cryptosporidiosis in both humans and animals 
(1).This is an EU-funded project under the Interreg-2-seas programme (Health for Dairy cows; H4DC). The successful candidate will make use of the newly developed culturing system from our laboratory (2,3), in combination with an innovative electronic device (from our collaborators in CNRS, Lille) in order to generate a novel platform for the discovery of anti-Cryptosporidium compounds and also monitor the biology of the parasite and its host at the cellular and biochemical level. This project will provide further understanding on the specificity, intracellular lifestyle of Cryptosporidium and will also generate large scale of proteomics, imaging and metabolomics data. The prospective PhD student will be trained and have access to state-of-the-art facilities within the School of Biosciences at University of Kent, including Imaging facility, proteomics and NMR and will also take advantage of the large-scale network under the H4DC project. 

  1. Bones AJ, Jossé L, More C, Miller CN, Michaelis M, Tsaousis AD. Past and future trends of Cryptosporidium in vitro research. Exp Parasitol. 2019 Jan;196:28-37. 
  2. Miller CN, Jossé L, Brown I, Blakeman B, Povey J, Yiangou L, Price M, Cinatl J Jr, Xue WF, Michaelis M, Tsaousis AD. A cell culture platform for Cryptosporidium that enables long-term cultivation and new tools for the systematic investigation of its biology. Int J Parasitol. 2018 Mar;48(3-4):197-201. 
  3. Jossé L, Bones AJ, Purton T, Michaelis M, Tsaousis AD. A Cell Culture Platform for the Cultivation of Cryptosporidium parvum. Curr Protoc Microbiol. 2019 Feb 8:e80

Criteria

We are seeking a highly motivated individual, excited by the prospect of conducting cutting-edge research, with a minimum of 2:1 degree and/or a postgraduate degree in a relevant subject. She/he will have a strong willingness to work at the interface of wet-lab, field work and bioinformatics, and demonstrate enthusiasm to learn new skills. Informal enquiries can be addressed to Dr. Anastasios Tsaousis

EU and overseas fee paying students are invited to apply. International applicants should make provision to meet the difference between Home /EU and International fees. 

Please note that overseas students must have the appropriate documentation to evidence eligibility to work in the UK.

How to apply

Applications for this fund should be indicated on your programme application, Microbiology PhD
The project title should be entered as the proposed area of research and Dr Anastasios D. Tsaousis as supervisor. 
Please include a CV and a covering letter. Applications must be received by 20 March 2019 for a start date of 01 August 2019 
To apply please go to https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/how-to-apply/index.html

Deadline

The deadline for 2019/20 applications has now passed.


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