PhD/MSc studentship (Prof Sunil K. Lal) 4

Project Title: Molecular Biology studies on cellular hnRNP1 and its role in the Influenza virus life-cycle: The search for new anti-viral targets.

Description of the project:

Sporadic outbreaks of epizootics like Ebola, SARS, Avian and Swine Flu remind us of the potential for communicable diseases to quickly spread into worldwide epidemics. Despite improved surveillance and quarantine measures, we find ourselves in the midst of a H1N1 and H7N9 influenza pandemic. Effective and new therapeutic targets are essential to protect against current and future pandemics and the best route to achieving this is through a detailed and global view of virus–host interactions. To prepare for future influenza outbreaks, it is necessary to understand how the virus interacts and manipulates the host pathways and to determine what makes certain strains of influenza highly pathogenic. Traditionally we have been a dynamic molecular biology laboratory with a focus on studying virus-host relationships and discovering how viruses exploit the cellular machinery to their advantage. We have deployed a variety of experimental systems that allow current models to be refined and thus provide us the basis for further predictions and hypothesis generation.

By examining these changes in a comprehensive manner, we have been able to discover exciting new insights into innate immunity, cytokine and cell signalling, cell survival and proliferation thus shedding new vision on strategies used by influenza viruses to overcome these cellular barriers. Research from students has resulted in high impact publications leading to dynamic placements for a strong career. Using modern screening procedures we have discovered that the hnRNP1 protein from the infected host interacts with an Influenza viral protein. Further research on this will help us uncover cellular requirements for viral functions. hnRNP1 is distributed in the nucleus and cytoplasm of uninfected cells however it will be interesting to investigate the fate of this protein after the cell has been infected with Influenza virus. Mapping the interaction sites and further down regulation of hnRNP1 may possibly reduce synthesis of the viral genome and virus yield, suggesting that this interaction may be required for virus replication and hence may become a strong anti-viral candidate.


Candidates should have a Bachelor degree in Science related discipline with 1st or 2nd upper class honours or equivalent.  For further information, please refer to these links:

  1. (PhD)
  2. (Master)

For English requirements, please refer to these links:

  1. (PhD)
  2. (Master)

Level of support

Scholarships will be awarded on a competitive basis. For further details, please refer to this link.

Closing date

Application is on a first come first serve basis. Once a suitable candidate is found, the application will be closed.

To apply

Only eligible candidate should write in application and resume directly to Prof Sunil K. Lal