Understanding coronavirus interactions with host RNA regulation pathways

Exploring the importance of mRNA modification, decay and translation in low and highly pathogenic coronaviruses.

Start date

1 April 2023


3.5 years

Application deadline

Funding source

University of Surrey

Funding information

UKRI standard stipend of £17,668 PA and fees (home student only) will be covered. Stipend will increase annually in line with UKRI increments.

Later start dates possible: July, October 2023


This is a fully funded 3.5 year PhD opportunity to investigate the biology of coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2. During infection viruses commandeer host cell gene expression machinery to facilitate viral protein production. Understanding precisely how they depend on and manipulate such pathways can reveal new opportunities for therapeutic interventions. Furthermore, mechanisms viruses use to influence host processes can reveal previously unanticipated facets of cell biology.

We are interested in how coronaviruses interact with host processes that regulate mRNA modification, decay and translation. This project will build on previous work that identified host factors that regulate m6A methylation of RNA as important for coronavirus infection. The project goal will be to understand how this and additional host RNA regulatory pathways regulate virus replication, deciphering the importance of viral gene expression regulation and host anti-viral immune responses. Comparison of SARS-CoV-2 with less pathogenic common cold-causing coronaviruses will identify aspects that are universal to coronavirus biology or associated with pathogenesis.

To execute this research, the successful applicant will make use of a wide range of techniques in cell biology, molecular biology, immunology and virology, as well as being trained in high containment working.

Experience in virology will be an advantage, however any motivated individuals with an interest in RNA regulation and the molecular biology of virus infection are encouraged to apply.

Eligibility criteria

Open to UK candidates.

Applicants are expected to have a good honours degree (first or upper second) or a masters degree in an appropriate discipline.

IELTS minimum 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Writing, or equivalent.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted as early as possible via the Biosciences and Medicine PhD programme page on the "Apply" tab. Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application. Once you have completed and submitted your application, please send an email to Dr Hannah Burgess (h.burgess@surrey.ac.uk) confirming you have applied..

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Application deadline

Contact details

Hannah Burgess
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 689242
E-mail: h.burgess@surrey.ac.uk

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