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Plague hazard assessment toolset


Key facts

Type of research degree
4 year PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Project start date
Thursday 1 October 2020
Country eligibility
UK and EU
Source of funding
Research council
Professor Grant Lythe and Professor Carmen Molina-Paris
Additional supervisors
Dr Martin Lopez-Garcia
School of Mathematics
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The pathogen of interest in this project is Yersinia pestis, a gram-negative bacterium and the causative agent of plague, a disease of humans and mammals which has been recognised since antiquity. Far from being obsolete, plague remains endemic in many parts of the world surviving in animal reservoirs.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>The World Health Organisation estimates that approximately 800 cases are reported worldwide each year. Thus, plague remains a serious public health concern. Since it is highly pathogenic and can only be handled at the highest levels of biological containment, very few organisations are able to work with plague.</p> <p>This PhD project aims to develop new within-host mathematical and computational models of Yersinia pestis infection acquired via the inhalation route and its treatment. In particular, the aim of this PhD project is to develop a plague hazard assessment mathematical and computational toolset, which can be used to compute the probability that an exposed individual will become infected as a function of dose of pathogen.</p> <p>The mathematical and computational toolset will consist of two principal modules:<br /> 1) Human infection module: a within-host, mechanistic, stochastic model of the infection process of Yersinia pestis within humans will be developed. This module will predict the probability of infection and the time to symptoms for an individual exposed to a given dose of Yersinia pestis. Published data from animal models (primarily primate) will be leveraged, together with available human clinical case data.<br /> 2) Medical treatment module: a within-host mechanistic model of the effect of a range of treatments (e.g., different varieties of antibiotic) will be developed, allowing different dosing strategies to be tested.</p> <p>Published pharmacokinetic data will be leveraged in model development.</p> <p>Key questions to be addressed in this project are:</p> <ul> <li>What is the probability that an exposed individual will become infected as a function of dose?</li> <li>How many people within the exposed population may become casualties?</li> <li>How many casualties will arise as a function of time? (This is essential to medical planning, e.g. quantity of MedCM to be stockpiled, number of hospital beds required).</li> <li>How effective must a given MedCM treatment be to reduce casualties by x%?</li> <li>How soon must a given MedCM treatment be administered, in order to reduce casualties by x%?</li> </ul>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &#39;Plague hazard assessment toolset&#39; as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Professor Molina Paris</a>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>UK/EU &ndash;&nbsp;Engineering &amp; Physical Sciences Research Council Studentships paying academic fees of &pound;4,600 for Session 2020/21, together with a maintenance grant of &pound;15,285&nbsp;paid at standard Research Council rates for 4 years. UK applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance.</p> <p>European Union applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Funding is awarded on a competitive basis.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information regarding your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email:&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=""></a>&nbsp;or by telephone:&nbsp; + 44 (0) 113 343 5057.</p> <p>For further information regarding the project, please contact Professor Molina-Par&iacute;s:&nbsp;<a href=""></a>,&nbsp;Professor Lythe:&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=""></a>&nbsp;or&nbsp;Dr. Martin Lopez-Garcia:&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>
<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>