The successful applicant will be employed in the Orbivirus Research Group, studying the pathogenesis of orbivirus infections in their mammalian hosts with the aim to further identify viral and host mechanisms of virulence and disease manifestation. Culicoides (biting midges) transmitted orbiviruses, such as bluetongue virus (BTV), represent important arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) of livestock both economically and in regards to their animal welfare impact. A key strength of The Pirbright Institute is the ability to study these viruses in their natural hosts in close proximity to specialised lines of vector insects and extensive collections of the viruses they transmit.
The position is integrated into a wider research programme at The Pirbright Institute to investigate the mammalian host-virus-insect vector interaction of culicoides-borne viruses in close collaboration with the Entomology group and the Non-Vesicular Reference Laboratory (NVRL), as well as external collaborators.
We envisage that this position will underpin the molecular virology and cell biology aspects of our research programme. Specific scientific themes within this strategic research area include investigation of virus entry and egress mechanisms of different orbivirus strains and particle types into divergent host target cells. Additionally we aim to elucidate underlying viral or host factors resulting in disease manifestation in certain mammalian host species, while others remain asymptotic following virus infection. Furthermore we will elucidate viral factors that drive virus selection at the host-vector interphase. A unique aspect of arbovirus transmission is the specific and complex series of interactions between the virus and vector arthropod blood-feeding, facilitated by arthropod saliva. Studies carried out within our group will further elucidate the immune response of mammalian hosts towards arboviruses as well as to vector blood-feeding and saliva inoculation, which is vital to fully understand how these viruses cause disease, are transmitted and ultimately may be controlled.
This position is ideally suited for a postdoctoral scientist interested to utilise molecular virology experience for applied virus-host-vector interaction studies and aiming to develop a greater degree of scientific independence within the next few years.
Fixed term for 4 years from start date
Up to £38,154/£47,276
Orbivirus Research Group