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PhD position at the University of Glasgow: Cross-species transmission of bat-associated satellite viruses

A fully-funded 4-year PhD studentship on the biology, epidemiology, and evolution of satellite viruses is available in the Streicker Group at the University of Glasgow, UK.

Satellite viruses are hyperparasites that require a fully-functioning, unrelated 'helper virus' to spread between cells and individual host. This obligatory dependence on a second virus should constrain the ability of satellites to switch host species; however, we recently discovered a satellite virus in South American bats that appears to be capable of switching host species and helper viruses. This is important since satellites generally alter the virulence of their helper viruses so could effectively function as host-jumping virulence factors that act on a variety of viruses. We currently understand neither the extent to which satellites jump between species nor how they establish associations with new host species or helper viruses. This PhD will use a combination of in vitro experiments, field studies on wild bats in Peru, and metagenomic sequencing to understand the mechanisms that allow satellite viruses to switch species and the risks they may pose to humans and livestock. The exact balance of laboratory/field/bioinformatic projects will depend on the experience and interests of the successful candidate.

We seek a candidate who is passionate about exploring new biological processes and integrating research across biological scales - from cells to populations to species. The successful candidate should have a strong background in at least one of the following: bioinformatics, laboratory virology, wildlife disease ecology or evolution, but must be motivated to work across disciplines.

The student will work in a vibrant community of ecologists, epidemiologists and evolutionary biologists at the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine and virologists and bioinformaticians at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the third largest in the UK. It is a UNESCO City of Music, a 2018 New York Times Top 10 holiday destination, and located in close proximity to Scottish highlands which offer world class hiking and outdoor activities. It is also the top city in Europe for openness, tolerance and trust.

The supervisory team includes Dr Daniel Streicker (infectious disease ecologist), Dr Laura Bergner (molecular ecologist), Dr Richard Orton (bioinformatician) and Dr Arvind Patel (virologist).

This PhD is funded through a new Wellcome Trust Integrative Infection Biology Programme at the University of Glasgow. UK/EU or International students are eligible, but must have first or upper second class UK honours degree, or the international equivalent. While not a strict requirement, a masters degree in a related field is recommended. Details of the program structure and eligibility criteria can be found at:

Application deadline: Tuesday 14 January 2020
Studentship commencement date: 1 October 2020
Annual stipend (2020/21 rate): £19,919

For informal enquiries, please contact Daniel Streicker []

PhD position
University of Glasgow
United Kingdom
Closing date
January 14th, 2020
Posted on
December 5th, 2019 19:45
Last updated
December 5th, 2019 19:45