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Biology & Life Sciences Research Associate
PhD position in MSCA-ITN project CORVOS on the topic "Complement evasion by viruses and opportunistic bacteria" at the University of Helsinki
The offered PhD position is part of CORVOS - a European PhD programme on Complement in opportunistic infectionsOpportunistic infections are defined as infections caused by pathogens primarily affecting immunocompromised subjects. Due to the immunodeficiency, they are difficult to treat and together the top 2 killer worldwide. Opportunistic pathogens comprise bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.
Complement as a chief conductor of innate immunity plays a crucial role in immune defence against opportunistic pathogens. Research in this field is exploding, but also suffers from poorly coordinated intersectoral training of early stage researchers (ESRs).
CORVOS, for COmplement Regulation and Variations in Opportunistic infectionS will train 15 widely recruited and highly motivated ESRs. They will fill the current scientific gap in the understanding of the role of complement in opportunistic infections, and translate this knowledge into clinical practice. ESRs will become creative alumni, all with a jointly awarded "double" PhD of two European universities and equipped with entrepreneurial and clinical skills, making them attractive human resources to academia and industry alike.
The University of Helsinki is part of this network and Prof. Seppo Meri will supervise the CORVOS students in Helsinki.
Activities and responsibilities
Complement evasion by viruses and opportunistic bacteria
Infections pose a global threat because of spread of antibiotic resistance, hospital infections and problems in the third world. On the other hand, rapidly increasing information of microbial genomes now provides new opportunities to tackle virulence mechanisms of pathogenic microbes. We have delineated earlier new immune evasion mechanisms of important pathogens, like borrelia, yersinia and streptococci. The aim of this project is to search and analyze molecules and mechanisms that bacteria or vaccine viruses use to escape the complement system. We are focusing on complement factor H (FH), FH-related proteins and the pentraxins, especially PTX-3. The information obtained will be important in developing new ways to overcome microbial resistance to complement or to improve biocompatibility of vaccine viruses. The particular bacteria we will be working on include antibiotic-resistant gram-negative enterobacteria. The first mechanism involves hijacking host complement regulatory proteins, factor H that under natural circumstances down-regulates the amplification pathway of complement activation. We will study direct inhibitory effects of factor H and the potentially interfering or promoting effects that the FHR-proteins or pentraxins could have. The evasion molecules will be identified and further characterized. In the second mechanism, we will study hijacking the central complement component C3 and its activation product, the opsonin C3b in a nonactive form from the host blood or proteolytic cleavage of C3/C3b by the microbial enzymes. The use of the microbial proteins that mediate human complement evasion as vaccines would lead to an immune response that could block complement resistance and promote microbial clearance.
General description of your individual PhD-schedule:
The position is advertised on
. Please apply via this homepage.
- Your main university will be University of Helsinki (Finland) with Prof. Meri as supervisor.
- You will have a 6-months research secondment at Humanitas University Milano (Italy) with Prof. Garlanda as supervisor, where you continue to scientifically work on your thesis project.
- You will have a further 6-months research secondment at MSD Finland (Helsinki) where you will learn industrial approaches to vaccine research.
- You will have a 1-month clinical training at Tirol Kliniken Innsbruck (Austria).
- You will have a 1-month entrepreneur training at MSD Finland (Helsinki).
- You will finally receive a PhD issued by University of Helsinki and Humanitas University Milano if you fulfil the respective requirements.
We are looking for highly qualified and motivated aspiring PhD students from any nationality with an open-minded and very enterprising personality, capable of working in collaborative and integrated research groups. Ideal candidates should possess a good scientific drive and a strong motivation to succeed.
- You have a full study completing degree (Master, Magister, Diploma, MD) in medicine, natural sciences or related disciplines until June 2021 - You can also apply if you havent finished your studies, yet!
- You are an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) – you either just finished your studies, or you have worked less than 4 years as an employee in the biomedical sector after obtaining your degree
- You have to show academic excellence, scientific potential, flexibility, motivation and suitability for the research project
- You have the willingness to stay abroad for 3 years from your current residence and willingness to travel through Europe
- You comply with the mobility rule for Marie Sklodowska Curie ITN fellows – Researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting university for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. This will be thouroughly checked.
The Marie Sklodowska-Curie project CORVOS is funded as an
Innovative Training Network
European Joint Doctorate
(EJD). To keep it simple, one can say that CORVOS is an European-wide doctoral programme. Its focus lies on education of early stage researchers (ESRs) in the field of complement in opportunistic infections. This interdisciplinary doctoral programme is supported by 10 European universities, 2 research institutes, 3 biomedical companies and 3 hospitals, as explained here. The ESRs will have enhanced career perspectives in the academic and non-academic sectors through international, interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral mobility combined with an innovation-oriented mind-set.
- Individual supervision & monitoring (individual thesis steering committee)
- A highly structured, international CORVOS-specific educational programme
- A one-month industrial training in one of our biomedical partner companies
- A one-month clinical training in one of our partner hospitals
- Funded 6-12-months research exchange to a European partner university of CORVOS
- A \"double\" PhD degree issued by your main university and the partner university you will visit for 6 months
- Annual meetings with other Marie Curie fellows of CORVOS
- Interaction with other European doctoral programmes, such as HOROS or IRTG1911
- You will build up a very attractive professional network for your future
- State of the art facilities and resources
- Competitive salary
Send application to
Please visit www.corvos.eu and follow the instructions for application
While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: CORVOS-FI1 APPLY NOW
This PhD position is offered within the scope of the EU MSCA-ITN project CORVOS, for CO mplement R egulation and V ariations in O pportunistic infection S. CORVOS will train 15 widely recruited and highly motivated ESRs. They will fill the current scientific gap in the understanding of the role of complement in opportunistic infections, and translate this...
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