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A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
Saturday, 29 September 2018
Academic background
Host campus
Pathology and Molecular Medicine (Wellington)
Dr Ayesha Verrall


A talented student is sought for a doctoral project focused on host-pathogen interactions in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The project involves using an ex-vivo cellular model of infection, a Mycobacterial growth inhibition assay (MGIA), to identify factors associated with host protection or bacterial virulence.

Your studies with the MGIA will advance knowledge required to develop a better Tuberculosis vaccine. Our group, a collaboration between the University of Otago, Radboud University (Netherlands) and Universitas Padjadjaran, has taken a novel approach to defining protective immunity to M. tuberculosis. We have developed a large cohort of TB case contacts including some who are “early clearers” and protected from infection and an archive of host immunological and genetic samples as well as bacterial DNA. Using the MGIA your work will advance understanding of how markers associated with protection in the cohort enhance immunity.

Expressions of interest are sought from candidates with a first class honours degree in microbiology or immunology (or equivalent) and whose previous research projects demonstrate independent problem solving, a meticulous approach to bench work and critical thinking. The ideal candidate will see this project as a platform for deeper mechanistic work in immune function or host or pathogen genomics, according to his/her interests.

You'll work with Dr Verrall, an Infectious Diseases Physician and Senior Lecturer at the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, University of Otago, Wellington. Appropriate co-supervision will be arranged to meet the successful candidate's needs. The project will be based in Wellington, the world's best little capital, where the MGIA is being developed. There are opportunities for clinical and community based sample collection as well interaction with clinical mycobacteriology laboratory. Successful applicants, international or domestic, will need to apply for a University of Otago PhD scholarship to support their tuition and living costs.


Ayesha Verrall

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