Characterisation of new mechanisms of host subversion by rhinovirus, the common cold virus

female student examines slides on a microscope whilst a male student takes notes

CEM Funded Opportunity

Characterisation of new mechanisms of host subversion by rhinovirus, the common cold virus

Project Description

Rhinovirus infections are the main cause of the common cold and a major cause of exacerbation of chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), leading to an acute worsening of symptoms. However, there is currently no vaccine or antiviral treatment against rhinoviruses and current treatments against asthma or COPD are poorly effective against rhinovirus-induced exacerbations.

To identify targets for the development of new treatments against rhinovirus-induced exacerbations in people with asthma or COPD, we need to better understand the molecular interactions between rhinovirus and their host cells. In particular, identifying host cell proteins that are essential for the replication of the virus or for the response of the host to the virus, and understanding the molecular mechanisms involved, would be important.

We recently identified by proteomics analysis several human proteins interacting with rhinovirus proteins in infected cells. The project will investigate the role of these host proteins in the replication of the virus or in the response of host cells to rhinovirus infection.
This offers an exciting opportunity to acquire and apply a diverse range of techniques (molecular/cell biology, biochemistry, virology…) and state-of-the art imaging and proteomics methods to elucidate the molecular pathogenesis of rhinovirus; thus contributing to the discovery of new treatment strategies for the most common infection of humans. 


*FUNDING CONFIRMED – Department for the Economy (DfE)*

Eligibility for both fees (£4260 for 2018/19, 2019/20 TBC) and maintenance (£14,777 for 2018/19, 2019/20 TBC) depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK resident or those EU residents who have lived permanently in the UK for the 3 years immediately preceding the start of the studentship.

Non UK residents who hold EU residency may also apply but if successful may receive fees only.

For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) please click on the following link: View Website

Entry Requirements 

Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant biomedical or life sciences subject.

English Language

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.

The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:
• IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;
• TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);
• A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;
• A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or
• A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

The English Language Unit (ELU) offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained from the ELU


Dr A Mousnier

Dr U Power

Closing Date

Closing date for application is: Sunday January 20, 2019

How to Apply

Please refer to 'Entry Requirements' for specific admissions criteria.

Apply online via the Queen's on-line application portal .  Guidance is available on the University’s Prospective Student pages.

When applying for a project, please choose ‘MEDICINE’ as your subject area/School.

Please ensure you adhere to the closing dates.

If you have any further queries please contact:  or +44 (0) 28 9097 2619/2042.


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