Date: 12.01.2022

Leishmania attachment in the sand fly vector

3 Year, full-time funded PhD Studentship in Parasitology, Oxford Brookes University - Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

About the Project

Oxford Brookes University

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Department of Biological and Medical Sciences 

3 Year, full-time funded PhD Studentship

Project Title: Leishmania attachment in the sand fly vector

Director of Studies: Dr Jack Sunter

Other supervisors: Prof Sue Vaughan

Project Description:

Background: Leishmaniasis is a devastating disease that affects millions of people around the world. The disease is caused by the Leishmania parasite which is transmitted through the bite of the sand fly; therefore, understanding the developmental cycle of the Leishmania parasite in the sand fly is critical to controlling the transmission of this disease. Leishmania is a unicellular flagellate parasite and in the sand fly the parasite has two forms – free swimming or attached. The parasite attaches to the lining of the gut in the sand fly through its flagellum, forming a complex structure call an attachment plaque. Attachment is central to the biology of Leishmania yet we understand very little about the molecular underpinnings of this process.

Aim: This exciting project using cutting edge molecular biology and imaging techniques will unravel the regulatory pathway that controls differentiation from a free swimming to attached parasite.

We will mine a comparative proteomic screen to identify proteins upregulated in attached parasites. Then using CRISPR/Cas9 genome modification we generate Leishmania parasites expressing these candidate proteins endogenously tagged with fluorescent proteins. Advanced fluorescence light microscopy will then be used to identify those with a role in differentiation. The function of these proteins and others identified by bioinformatics will be analysed by generating deletion mutants using CRISPR approaches in combination with cutting-edge light microscopy and 3D electron microscopy approaches to define the points at which the mutants fail during differentiation.





Applicants should have a first or upper second-class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution or acceptable equivalent qualification in biological science or related discipline. Non-UK Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate (or equivalent) with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre. 

The studentship requires you to undertake 6 hours teaching per week during semester time.

How to apply: Applicants should email  to request an application form.


Funding Notes

Eligibility: Home, EU and International applicants
Closing date: 3 February 2022
Start Date: September 2022
Bursary p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2021/22 bursary rate is £15,609)
University Fees and Bench fees: will be met by the University for the 3 years of the funded Studentship.




Biology Centre CAS
Institute of Parasitology
Branišovská 1160/31
370 05 České Budějovice

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