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Research Vacancies

Vaccine Formulation PhD position: Development of easy-to-administer, stable vaccines delivery technology

Job Posted: 15 May 2024
Closing Date for Applications: 28 Jun 2024
School: School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology/School of Pharmacy
Contract Type: Fixed Term Whole-Time
Job Type: Research
Salary: See advert for details

Position Summary:

There is an urgent need to address global inequities in vaccine deployment. Two factors that are hampering successful immunisation programmes are the requirement to keep vaccines in cold chain and the need for sufficiently trained healthcare workers. We have developed easy-to-administer alternatives to the current practice of vaccine injection, such as dissolvable microneedle skin patches. This technology also stabilises the vaccine out of cold-chain. Thus vaccines remain stable out of fridges and freezers when incorporated into our patches and can be administered outside of healthcare settings. All of these attributes result in a vaccine delivery technology that aims to address current vaccine accessibility issues. We have extensive expertise in developing formulations and methods that stabilise vaccines in solid dosage forms such as microneedle skin patches. We recently defined an innovative method and formulations to create stable vaccine in solid form for use in microneedle patches, wafers or potentially, oral tablets. The aim of this project is to build on this exciting new finding and exploit the potential of this vaccine stabilisation technology. We are therefore seeking an ambitious, motivated Ph.D. researcher, interested in developing their expertise in vaccine formulation and development, to join our multi-disciplinary team to develop the next generation of vaccine stabilising technologies as a technical solution to addressing global inequities in vaccine accessibility.  

The successful candidate will work in the growing teams of researchers in Prof. Anne Moore’s group in the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Dr. Sonja Vucen’s group in the School of Pharmacy. Extensive training will be provided in all aspects of the fundamentals of vaccine formulation, characterisation and testing. The Ph.D. candidate will gain substantial expertise across the fields of formulation science, virology, immunology and vaccine development during this research. UCC is ranked in the top 2% of research-led universities globally and possesses internationally-recognised research infrastructure and thriving graduate schools to support the professional and personal development of PhD students.  Additionally, the Ph.D. candidate will be a core researcher in the All-island Vaccine Research and Training Alliance (AIVRT; https://www.aivrthub.org/about.html). AVIRT is a hub of excellence, across the island of Ireland, aiming to develop effective vaccines to control the spread of bacterial antimicrobial resistance. This network provides a unique interdisciplinary PhD programme with cross-training in complementary areas of life-sciences, biotechnology, health psychology, public health, ethics, and communication to build capacity in vaccine design, development, and deployment.

Eligibility criteria for candidates:

We are looking for a talented and highly motivated early career researcher who is a team player with initiative, possessing a minimum of an M.Sc. or first class or upper second-class honours B.Sc. degree. The candidate will have degree in pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences or engineering related to biopharmaceutics and preferably experience in the formulation of biologics. The candidate should also have technical experience and knowledge in some of the following: good lab practice (essential), health and safety (essential), applied statistics principles of experimental design (essential), excellent communication and team-working skills (essential), vaccine development, tissue culture related to virology and/or immunology.

Funding Details

This full-time PhD position is fully funded for up to 4 years including a starting tax-free stipend of €22,000 per annum (tax free). The studentship will additionally cover fees at the rate for EU students.

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in a Ph.D. degree programmes at UCC.

To Apply:

Interested candidates for either position should submit their application, specifically a concise CV, cover letter and contact details of at least two referees, to Prof. Anne Moore, anne.moore@ucc.ie



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