Investigating tick-borne virus infection in tick

This PhD studentship proposes to study how tick cells defend themselves against viral infection, you will use different virological and cellular techniques to investigate the infectious state of the tick cells.

Start date

1 April 2024


3.5 years

Application deadline

Funding information

The studentship includes a competitive stipend and covers tuition fees for the duration of the PhD programme.


Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a viral infection transmitted through tick bites. Due to global warming, there has been an increase in tick populations, raising the likelihood of encountering infected ticks. Infected ticks have been identified in Europe, including the UK. This surge in cases rise public health concern, emphasizing the urgency of developing drugs, or vector control strategies to combat TBE.

Our lab research focused on how tick-borne viruses remain active and replicating for months within the tick cells. Little is known on how tick viruses establish this viral persistence at the cellular level. Therefore, your project aims to develop a novel study system using tick cells infected with the TBE Flavivirus and identify and characterise tick factors involved in the maintenance of the virus in the tick cells.

Combining cellular biology and virology techniques, you will:

  1. Design a TBE reporter virus to monitor the infection in tick cell over time. 
  2. Compare the cellular changes induced by the virus in the tick cell.
  3. Identify the role of immune related gene using CRISPR-Cas9 methodology.

Key research objectives

  • Tick Cell Biology: Characterize the interactions between Ix. Ricinus tick cells and tick-borne Flaviviruses, with an emphasis on Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV).
  • Viral Persistence: Investigate the strategies employed by TBE virus to maintain long-term infections.

Benefits of the studentship

  • Gain expertise in cellular biology, basic virology, and CRISPR-cas9 + training in CAT3 high level containment laboratory.
  • Collaborate with leading scientists in the field.
  • Access state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and resources.

The School of Bioscience and Medicine is proud to have been awarded Silver Athena SWAN status, promoting the inclusivity of our school. The University of Surrey is based at Guildford on a beautiful campus. We are within easy reach of Waterloo (~30mins), and benefit from excellent rail, air and road connections.

Eligibility criteria

We are seeking candidates with a background in cellular biology, cellular virology, or related fields. 

Join our supportive team to nurture your passion for research and unravel the mysteries of virus infection within the tick!

You will need to meet the minimum entry requirements for our Biosciences and Medicine PhD programme.

Open to candidates who pay UK/home rate fees. See UKCISA for further information.

How to apply

To apply for this exciting opportunity, applications should be submitted via the Biosciences and Medicine PhD programme page.

In place of a research proposal you should upload a document stating the title of the project that you wish to apply for and the name of the relevant supervisor.

Please also submit your CV, a cover letter outlining your research interests and motivation, and contact information for two academic referees to

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Application deadline

Contact details

Marine J. Petit

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