Pharmacodynamics of Intracellular Pathogens for the optimization and/or development of new treatments

This is an exciting opportunity to work with one or more intracellular pathogens including Plasmodium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Salmonella, N. gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis. Projects typically involve Industry and overseas training placements. Host-pathogen interactions will be studied using live Imaging- based platforms as well as general techniques in molecular biology, analytical/metabolomics/proteomics and potentially microfluidics. Quantitative skills training will include basic or advanced pharmacodynamic- pharmacokinetic (PK-PD) modelling approaches.  The projects will be tailor-made to involve clinical/field components.

Where does this project lie in the translational pathway? 


Methodological aspects of the PhD project

Translational training in discovery, development and pharmacology of therapeutics. Training will include Industrial placements as well as training in specialised techniques or laboratories e.g. Microfluidics labs, PK-PD labortaories, Imaging laboratories (mainly in US and Europe). Quantitative skills training will include training in PK-PD data analyses and modelling. More clinical or field orientated projects may involve bio-informatics or medical statistics.

Expected outputs of the PhD project

Publications and proof-of-concept data for grant funding and on-ward clinical research towards changing practice.

External training opportunities will be available for the student 

Industry placements specific pharmacodynamics training, Hospital placements for exposure of clinical context of disease (e.g. Malawi or Vietnam) and/or training in clinical microbiology skills (e.g. break points etc). External scientific laboratories for specialised platform training e.g. Imaging, microfluidics and PK-PD training.  MRes placements may also involve qualitative research.

Required skills/experience/aptitudes

Solid Biology/Pharmacology/Pharmacy/Medical background or alternatively a maths-orientated background but from someone with interest in tackling real-life clinical knowledge-gaps/health issues.

Key publications that relate to this proposed project 



Ghaith Aljayyoussi G,  Jenkins VA, Sharma R, Ardrey A, Donnellan S, Ward SA, Biagini GA. Pharmacokinetic-Pharmacodynamic modelling of intracellular Mycobacterium tuberculosis growth and kill rates is predictive of clinical treatment duration.  Scientific Reports.  In press




O'Neill, P et al., A tetraoxane-based antimalarial drug candidate that overcomes PfK13-C580Y dependent artemisinin resistance"Nature commIn press



Ismail HM, Barton V, Phanchana M, Charoensutthivarakul S, Wong MH, Hemingway J, Biagini GA, O'Neill PM, Ward SA. Artemisinin activity-based probes identify multiple molecular targets within the asexual stage of the malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum 3D7. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. (2016) 113(8):2080-5.