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Name of scholarship/program

Mining whole genome sequence data to fight infectious diseases

Important description
Despite efforts to reduce infectious diseases, they continue to cause significant morbidity, mortality and social and economic cost worldwide. The recent rapid and inexpensive availability of whole genome sequences generated using next generation sequencing platforms will enable new diagnostic and public health approaches for mitigating against infectious disease epidemics. Most notably, it will be the availability of genomes from multiple strains of an organism that will facilitate new understanding, rather than the ‘single genome of a type strain’ approach used to date. This is principally because the combination of the genetic diversity of natural populations with knowledge of each isolates source, disease symptoms and phenotype will enable biologically meaningful correlations to be made.

Current research at the University of Aberdeen will make available whole genome sequences from several thousand genomes (including Campylobacter, E. coli O157 and Listeria) The availability of genomes from multiple strains will facilitate new understanding of the biology of these pathogens. In particular virulence, evolution, host association, population structure..

The project will exploit a computational framework for the storage, handling and analysis of genome data. The work will correlate the genetic information with epidemiological data (e.g. disease severity, host reservoir etc) to improve understanding of transmission and severity of these diseases.

The successful applicant will have a first or upper second class degree (or equivalent) in either Maths, Physics, Computing, Statistics, Bioinformatics or Biology. Knowledge of mathematical and statistical methods in a programming environment and databases would be advantageous. However knowledge of databases is not essential.

The othe supervisor on this project is Dr Kenneth Forbes, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Aberdeen.

Eligibility and other criteria
If you have the correct qualifications and access to your own funding, either from your home country or your own finances, your application to work with this supervisor will be considered.

Application deadline
*Applications accepted all year round

Additional information, and important URL
Applications can be accepted from students worldwide. Applicants should note that there is no funding attached to this project therefore the successful candidate will entirely responsible for the payment of tuition fees, living expenses and other such costs associated with living and studying in Aberdeen.

The project will be awarded to the first suitable applicant. The start date will be agreed between the successful applicant and their supervisors.

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