PhD Studentship: The mechanisms by which Streptococcal pathogens exploit immune receptors for innate immune evasion

A 3-year Department of Medicine PhD studentship is available to work in the laboratory of Dr Alex McCarthy, in the MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection (CMBI) at Imperial College London. The successful applicant will be joining an internationally-renowned Research Centre, within one of the world’s top research universities.

Streptococcal pathogens including Group A Streptococcus (GAS; S. pyogenes) and Group B Streptococcus (GBS; S. agalactiae), can cause a range of mild, invasive and deadly infections, including necrotising fasciitis (flesh-eating disease), meningitis and toxic shock syndrome. Streptococcal pathogens have often evolved sophisticated and specialised mechanisms to evade innate immune responses, in order to enhance their survival, replication, and ability to cause disease. This exciting PhD position, supervised by Dr Alex McCarthy & Prof Shiranee Sriskandan, will investigate mechanisms that enable streptococcal pathogens to evade innate immune responses, so that we can develop novel therapeutic strategies.

The goal of this project is to identify the molecular basis of streptococcal interactions with modulatory immune receptors, and to characterise how these host-pathogen interactions contribute to immune evasion. The combined use of genetic, biochemical, cellular and immunological techniques will provide unique insights into the mechanism that contribute to streptococcal immune evasion pathogenicity. The results will have broad implications in understanding streptococci biology, and will pave the way for rational design of novel anti-bacterial therapeutic approaches. The student will be based in the Flowers Building, CMBI at the South Kensington Campus of Imperial College London, which provides state of the art facilities and an exciting PhD student training environment. Prof Sriskandan holds a clinical position at the Hammersmith Campus with access to clinical samples and expertise.

The candidates should have a background in innate immunity and a strong interest in bacterial pathogenesis. Prior experience with bacteria pathogens is desirable but not essential.

Candidates must be expected to have a first class or upper second class Honours degree in biological sciences (or other appropriate science subject), and a Master’s degree or equivalent research experience in a relevant subject area. Only UK or EU nationals are eligible.

The 3-year studentship covers tuition fees and provides a tax-free stipend of £18,000 per annum.  

To apply, please send a copy of your CV, a cover letter describing why you are suitable for this PhD studentship to Nicola Tingley ( Informal enquires can be sent to Dr. Alex McCarthy ( 

Application Deadline: 30th June 2019