PhD project available – investigating the structure of extracellular vesicles and budded virus in baculovirus replication

Oxford Brookes University – Department of Biological and Medical Sciences – Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

STFC Harwell and OET Ltd jointly funded studentship at Oxford Brookes University 

4 Year, full-time PhD studentship
Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK (settled or pre-settled status)
University fees and bench fees: University fees will be met by the funders for the 4 years of the funded Studentship.
Closing date: 5 June 2023
Interviews: 16 June 2023
Start date: September 2023
Director of Studies: Professor Linda A King
Other Supervisors: Dr Adam Chambers (OET Ltd), Dr Najet Mahmoudi (ISIS Neutron & Muon Source, Harwell)

Requirements: Applicants should have a first or upper-second-class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or an acceptable equivalent qualification. EU 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.

Project Description:

The project provides a unique opportunity to study baculovirus budded virus (BV) and extracellular vesicle (EV) structures using biochemical and biophysical techniques including protein analyses, small-angle neutron scattering and cryogenic electron microscopy. The insect cell baculovirus expression system is used globally to produce proteins for use in vaccines, diagnostics and gene therapy. Sometimes proteins affect recombinant baculovirus titres making it hard to scale production.  The project will investigate whether changes in virus structure result in reduced virus titres. EVs are diverse nanoscale membrane vesicles released by cells that play an important role in intercellular communication and possess a high clinical potential as therapeutic delivery vehicles. Further research to identify the impact of EVs on viral infections is required but remains limited by the unavailability of virus-EV separation methods and detailed structural characterization of both EVs and virions.

The project is co-funded by Oxford Expression Technologies, world leaders in the development and application of baculovirus expression technology, and the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source at STFC Harwell. The student will be based at OET’s labs within Oxford Brookes Bioinnovation Hub on the main Headington campus and will spend time at the Harwell complex.  Full training in all techniques will be provided and as part of your studies you will benefit from specialised training including the ISIS Neutron Training Course, the Oxford School on Neutron Scattering and the EMBL practical course on “Small angle neutron and x-ray scattering from biomacromolecules in solution”. At Oxford Brookes, you will have access to a comprehensive training programme of transferrable skills aligned to the Vitae Researcher Development Framework, including e.g. media training and grant writing workshops.

The project is subject to final approvals.

Contact: Professor Linda A King:


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