PhD (M/W) dsRNA-based detection of viruses: Description of the thesis topic: Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is a feature of most viral infections. dsRNA is produced by RNA viruses during replication and by DNA viruses during convergent transcription. Surprisingly, dsRNA-centered approaches to viral surveillance have been little exploited.

The aim of the PhD project is to develop a new dsRNA-based virus detection and sequencing tool, and to validate its application on living organisms such as arthropods and plants. The ANR-funded project is twofold.

The first objective is to identify and optimize various proteins with high affinity and specificity for dsRNA, using molecular engineering and yeast-display directed evolution approaches.

The second stage will involve validating and defining the applicability of these different proteins for virus detection and characterization. Plants collected in fields and mosquitoes collected in regions where arboviruses are endemic will be tested. The sensitivity and specificity of the tool will be compared with similar existing methods.

Qualifications required:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in molecular biology/biochemistry and/or molecular virology
  • Experience in genomics/bioinformatics is not a prerequisite, but would be an advantage.
  • Intellectual curiosity and self-motivation
  • Fluency in English (written and oral communication)
  • Practical training in advanced biochemistry, molecular biology and virology techniques.
  • Mastery of flow cytometry, display techniques (yeast/phage) and/or Oxford Nanopore sequencing are not essential but are a plus.

Work Context:

The Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes is home to around 150 people, and is located on the Esplanade campus of the University of Strasbourg. It is the largest CNRS institute working on plants. The institute is organized into 16 teams.

The thesis will be carried out in the “Biology and biotechnology of grapevine viruses” team, in close collaboration with Todd Blevins (IBMP), Sabine Szunerits (Institut d’Electronique, de Microélectronique et de Nanotechnologie (IEMN), Lille) and Julien Pompon (Institute of Research for Development (IRD), Montpellier) as part of the ANR VDOSAGE project.

Constraints and risks: Travel between the various project partners is to be expected. Subject at the interface between fundamental and applied research.

General information:

Offer title : PhD (M/W) dsRNA-based detection of viruses (H/F)

Reference : UPR2357-CHRRIT-006

Number of position : 1

Workplace : STRASBOURG

Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer

Contract Period : 36 months

Start date of the thesis : 2 October 2023

Proportion of work : Full time

Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Section(s) CN : Molecular and structural biology, biochemistry


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