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ESR-1 Development of host-targeted inhibitors of enterovirus replication (UU)

Project description
The genus Enterovirus of the picornavirus family contains many important human and animal pathogens, such as poliovirus, coxsackievirus, enterovirus 71, and rhinovirus. All enteroviruses exploit the same host factors and pathways for replication. Inhibiting host factors is an emerging approach to develop broad-range antiviral therapy. Recently, we identified several (druggable) host factors essential for coxsackievirus B3 using a genome-wide siRNA screen. The ESR will test available inhibitors of these host factors for their antiviral activity against a broad panel of enteroviruses. The stage of the viral life cycle in which the host factor is involved will be determined and the mode of action of the inhibitor will be investigated in detail using an integrated approach involving molecular biological (e.g. subgenomic replicon analysis, resistance culturing, reverse genetics), biochemical (e.g. interaction analysis), and cell biological (e.g. advanced microscopy) techniques.

Host institute
Utrecht University (UU), one of the largest in Europe, is consistently rated the top Dutch university (Shanghai Ranking). It offers 45 undergraduate and 167 graduate programmes, it has some 30,000 students served by 7,500 academic staff grouped into seven faculties, and it has 6 graduate schools (ESRs will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Life Sciences). The Department of Infectious Diseases & Immunology of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine – which is considered one of the top 3 veterinary research institutes in the world – consists of the Divisions Virology, Infection Biology, Immunology, Molecular Host Defence, and Clinical Infectiology.

Research at the Virology division aims to unravel the structure, entry, replication, and molecular pathogenesis of several RNA viruses that are of human clinical and veterinary relevance. These include the nidoviruses (i.e. corona-, toro- and arteriviruses), picornaviruses (e.g. entero-, cardio-, and aphthoviruses), influenza A virus, and respiratory syncytial virus. Our ultimate goal is to translate this knowledge into the development of novel therapeutic and prophylactic strategies.

Research of the ESR will be embedded in the Graduate School of Life Sciences and the UU Center for Infection and Immunity, which facilitates collaboration of all research related to Infectious diseases, Microbiology, Inflammation and Immunology within the broader Utrecht area.

Candidate found. Vacancy is closed.