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ESR-12 Antiviral mechanisms of foot-and-mouth disease virus inhibitors

Project description
Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) inhibitors have been identified. The ESR will investigate antiviral mechanisms of selected molecules using standardized tests in vitro. Resistance associated mutations will be validated through reverse genetics in replicon and infectious clone systems. To characterize the function of the viral targets, molecular studies will be performed and an academic secondment will allow for the elucidation of the structure of the viral target in order to identify possible binding sites with the selected inhibitors.

The Network
This PhD position is part of the European training network ANTIVIRALS ( The candidate will benefit from the ANTIVIRALS network, which includes regular (scientific) network meetings and training in research methodology and complementary skills. This research project offers unique opportunities for establishing a broad and international scientific network with partners from the academic and industrial sector. The research project is performed in close collaboration with and partly at the premises of other institutions of the ANTIVIRALS network.

Host institute
Aratana Therapeutics is a biotech company with headquarters in Kansas City (Kansas, US) and with Discovery Research facilities in Leuven (Belgium). The ESR will be hosted by the Leuven site. The ESR will be offered a fascinating job in a novel area of veterinary viral disease control at the heart of a dynamic biotech company. More information on Aratana Therapeutics wan be found at

Research of the ESR will be embedded in the Doctoral School Programmes “Drug Design and Development” & “Immunology and Microbiology” of the Leuven University (KU Leuven), which facilitates collaboration and training in research related to Drug Design and Development, Infectious diseases, Microbiology, Inflammation and Immunology within the broader Leuven area.

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