Using mechanistic immunological models and virtual clinical trials to optimize shingles vaccine scheduling in older adults

Research project description

Understanding age-related immunity to vaccination is critical to providing effective population-level protection. Herpes zoster virus (HZV) or shingles is caused by the reactivation of dormant varicella (i.e., chickenpox). Shingles causes painfully itchy rashes, generally on the trunk or face, in addition to other symptoms like e.g., headaches. These rashes can cause permanent scarring, and herpes zoster can also have serious complications like neuralgia and vision loss.

Vaccination against shingles has been shown to be effective and is recommended for people over 50. However, responses to vaccination decline with age. Based on clinical trial data from new vaccine candidates, this project will use mathematical models and virtual clinical trials to understand age-related correlates of immune protection and establish effective dosages/timings to improve immune protection in older adults.

Required training and profile

The ideal candidate will have strong academic and publication records in mechanistic mathematical/computational modelling, ideally with experience in immunology, a high degree of autonomy, and excellent communication skills. They will also work well with their peers and collaborators, be detailed-oriented and well-organized. The candidate will participate in lab activities, help with the supervision of students and/or interns, and collaborate on grant applications.

Training: PhD in applied mathematics, pharmaceutical sciences, computational biology, or a related discipline.

Specific expertise: Demonstrated mathematical modelling skills using data-driven quantitative analyses, differential equations, and/or quantitative systems pharmacology; programming skills; prior knowledge of immunology is an asset.

Research laboratory presentation

Dr. Morgan Craig is a Researcher at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre and an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the Université de Montréal. Her lab (Quantitative and Translational Medicine Laboratory) studies how the immune system responds to threats and how differences between individuals affect these responses. For this, she develops predictive, mechanistic mathematical and computational models to study the progression and treatment of cancer and viral infectious diseases through the lens of immunity. In her work and through highly multidisciplinary research conducted in close collaboration with experimentalists and clinicians, Dr. Craig uses virtual clinical trials and virtual patient cohorts to concretely improve therapeutic regimens and patient outcomes.

Submit your application

Candidates should send the required documents before 1/2024 to Morgan Craig at Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

Please provide:

-Curriculum vitæ
-Cover letter
-Names of 3 references

Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre / Université de Montréal
Closing date
March 31st, 2024
Posted on
December 1st, 2023 17:10
Last updated
December 1st, 2023 17:10