PhD Studentship Parainfluenza Virus: Genetic Diversity, Virulence and Antiviral Susceptibility

(Fixed Term)

Reference: PK01277

Institution: Public Health England (PHE)

PhD Supervisor: Dr. Hamid Jalal

Funding Availability: Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Registration: University of Cambridge

Principal Supervisor: Dr. Hamid Jalal (PHE & University of Cambridge)

Co-supervisor: Prof. Ian Goodfellow (University of Cambridge)

Associate Supervisors: Prof. Saheer Gharbia (PHE), Dr. John Roe, University of Bristol

Stipend: £13726 per annum (tax free)

Closing date: 15th June 2013

Interview date: To be confirmed

Background: Human parainfluenza viruses (HPIVs) cause both upper and lower respiratory tract infection with a broad range of clinical presentations e.g. coryza, cough, sore throat, fever, otitis media, bronchiolitis, pneumonia and the exacerbation of asthma. Among immunocompetent individuals, the clinical features of infection are generally mild with a short duration of viral shedding. However, lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI), particularly infection due to HPIV-3, results in serious morbidity and high mortality among immunocompromised patients. Why some types of these viruses cause severe infection and others do not is not well understood. At present, no antiviral is available to treat this infection.

Hypothesis: The genetic diversity among clinical isolates of HPIV-3 is associated with the differences in their virulence and zanamivir susceptibility.

Objectives: This project has three objectives.

1.            To investigate the impact of HPIV-3 genetic diversity on clinical and epidemiological features

2.            To investigate the susceptibility of HPIV-3 to zanamivir

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3.            To investigate the biological significance of in silico genomic data

Training Aspects: The Student will learn a range of techniques including those for cell culture, sequencing and animal work. Apart from critical thinking, data analysis and scientific writing, this project will provide a unique opportunity of learning in a regional diagnostic centre, a national reference laboratory and an academic institution. The student will also learn about the ethical principles of clinical research and handling of clinical specimens and confidential patients’ data. The studentship is likely to begin on 1st of October and is funded for 3 years.

Person Specification: This studentship is open to UK and EU applicants with MSc in Clinical Microbiology or MB BChir. A candidate with work experience in a virology laboratory will be preferred. In order to be registered at the University of Cambridge the successful candidate will have to fulfil the following requirement:

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance.

Application: All applicants must complete the application form (PA22) which can be downloaded by clicking the ‘Apply’ button below or from our website:

Completed applications should be emailed to Applications must be received by 5 pm on the closing date.

Please quote reference PK01277 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

For further information and informal discussions only on this post, please contact Dr. Hamid Jalal (email:

Funding Note:  EU applicants must demonstrate a relevant connection to the UK through ordinary residence. As a UK public funded body, PHE cannot fund applicants from outside the EU.

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