PhD student for SARS-CoV-2 Project

Updated: 28 days ago
Institute of Virology
Experimental Virology, Vetsuisse Faculty

PhD student for SARS-CoV-2 Project
100 %

Subject: B. subtilis as a platform for active and passive immunization against SARS-CoV-2
This research project is an extension of a project to develop a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine using Bacillus subtilis as a vector for the expression and presentation of SARS-CoV-2 antigens. B. subtilis is a commensal intestinal bacterium, which is characterized by the formation of spores and biofilms. Genetically modified B. subtilis spores which contain SARS-CoV-2 genes are designed to reach the small intestine after oral ingestion where they germinate and develop into functional biofilms that present SARS-CoV-2 proteins on their surface and thus induce an immune response against the virus. This B. subtilis vaccination platform can be used for additional preventive and therapeutic applications as described below.
Your responsibilities
The aims of this PhD project are to (i) simultaneously express several SARS-CoV-2-specific epitopes for the efficient induction of broad and specific SARS-CoV-2 immune responses and (ii) produce and secrete chimeric antibodies that neutralize SARS-CoV-2 in situ . The chimeric antibodies are developed based on the sequence of known neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. At the same time, a screening method based on bacteriophages and machine learning is to be used by our collaborators at the Laboratory for Systems and Synthetic Immunology (ETH Zurich) to identify additional chimeric antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and specifically against the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein, which could be used preventively and therapeutically using the B. subtilis platform.
Your profile
  • Completed Master's degree
  • Keen interest in cell and molecular biology, virology, bacteriology and immunology
  • Basic skills in cell and molecular biology, virology, bacteriology and immunology
  • License for and basic skills in animal experimentation are assets

What we offer
We are a small team of experienced and enthusiastic scientists who would be happy to welcome a new member. You will be supervised by Dr. Catherine Eichwald, Dr. Claudio Aguilar and Prof. Dr. Cornel Fraefel. You will be required to join the Life Science Zurich PhD Program Microbiology and Immunology and to register as a PhD student in the faculty of Science of the University of Zurich. Standard PhD salary.
Place of work
Institute of Virology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich
Winterthurerstrasse 266a
8057 Zürich
Start of employment
The position is available from 1st May 2021 or upon agreement.
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