Funded PhD Studentships x 2 – Infection and Population Health

PhD Studentships at the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Blood-borne and Sexually Transmitted Infections at University College London

Summary: NIHR Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Blood-borne and Sexually Transmitted Infections at University College London invites applications for two NIHR/UCL funded PhD studentships to start from October 2016. The NIHR HPRU in Blood-borne and Sexually Transmitted Infections offers a unique environment to those wishing to undertake interdisciplinary study and gain exposure to research within an organisation pursuing a highly acclaimed international research agenda. This HPRU is led by UCL in collaboration with Public Health England and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It aims to improve the health of the population and develop practical policy guidelines for those working in health protection in this field.

Successful candidates will have the opportunity to benefit from expertise across the other NIHR funded HPRUs. The PhD proposals offered fall with the remit of the key research themes of the HPRU (detailed below), are multi-disciplinary and are co-supervised across the partner institutions (with at least one supervisor from UCL). The proposals offered can be viewed via the following link:https://www.ucl.ac.uk/iehc/vacancies/hpru_projects_2016

In addition successful candidates may be able to pursue their own PhD proposal if it falls within the stated criteria.

Applicants should have a first or upper second class degree in an appropriate discipline and a MSc in a relevant subject.

Eligibility: These NIHR/UCL research studentships are for 3 years and due to funding restrictions, applicants must be UK/EU nationals. Applicants must have been a resident in the UK for three years immediately prior to starting a PhD to be eligible. If you do not fulfil this criterion, you are not eligible for this scheme.

Funding: Due to funding restrictions, studentships cover UK home fees only and full stipend for three years. The stipend is currently £16,180 pa. Two studentships are available to start in the 2016/17 academic year.

Applications: Applications should include a CV including full details of all University courses and grades to date; an indication of the PhD proposal (indicating the candidate’s suitability) or area of research for which the candidate is applying, and a statement of research experience and interests.

Electronic submissions are preferred.  Please include a contact telephone number and an email address. The covering letter should be no longer than 2 pages. Applications should be emailed to: Pat Withington (p.withington@ucl.ac.uk)  or posted to UCL Royal Free Campus, Research Department of Infection and Population Health, Room 655, Level 1, Rowland Hill Street, London, NW3 2PF.

Application deadline: 15th June 2016.

If you wish to discuss possible research topics and opportunities, please contact Dr Greta Rait, Academy Lead (g.rait@ucl.ac.uk) or Professor Caroline Sabin, HPRU Director c.sabin@ucl.ac.uk). 

Interview date: 29th June 2016

Academic references will be taken up for all short-listed candidates and travel costs will be reimbursed up to the equivalent of the most economical train/air fare available within the UK.


PhD proposal (Prof Andrew Phillips)

Modelling long term morbidity and mortality outcomes for people with HIV: effects of HIV, ART and background morbidity - comparative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of regimen choices 

While the START study has provided the evidence required to inform policy on timing of ART initiation, uncertainties remain over long term outcomes for people on ART, particularly in relation to risk of non-AIDS events.  There is uncertainty over residual effects of HIV even in optimally treated people, through ongoing low level replication or continuing adverse effects of earlier damage caused by HIV.  Further, while modern ART regimens have high efficacy and low toxicity the possibility of moderate long term adverse drug effects remains, with specific drugs associated with different concerns (e.g. renal function and bone density with TDF, myocardial infarction with abacavir, neurologic effects with efavirenz).  Balancing long term consequences of alternative drug options can be difficult.  For example, in a person with moderately low eGFR the trade offs of use of tenofovir and abacavir, or even the option of using neither (with 3TC/FTC as the only nucleos(t)ide analogue drug) are unclear.  In addition, as ARVs go off patent and prices reduce markedly use of specific drugs which remain under patient is increasingly scrutinised by payers.  Examples include whether integrase inhibitors can be used instead of efavirenz or a boost protease inhibitor in first line treatment, and whether TAF can be used instead of TDF.  In countries such as the UK it will be become important to demonstrate cost effectiveness of regimen choices.  We propose to adapt an existing model of HIV progression to consider these issues in detail, informed by previous published studies and ongoing analyses of the START trial and of D:A:D and other studies.

If you are interested to investigate this proposal further then please contact Professor Andrew Phillips (andrew.phillips@ucl.ac.uk

Vacancies in other areas of the Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care

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