skip to primary navigationskip to content

Wellcome Trust Interdisciplinary Fellowship

last modified Mar 18, 2019 12:34 PM

The Ahnert group (Cavendish Laboratory & Sainsbury Laboratory) and the Schornack group (Sainsbury Laboratory) are inviting applications for a two-year postdoctoral position on a joint interdisciplinary project (Wellcome Junior Interdisciplinary Fellowship). This project combines mathematical and computational biology with wet-lab experiments (but no prior wet-lab experience is required). Deadline for applications: March 29th, 2019

Candidates will have a PhD in the physical sciences, mathematics, computing or engineering (or the life sciences, if they wish to expand their knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences) and a strong track record appropriate for their career stage. Prior knowledge of biology is not required, but a willingness to work closely with biologists is essential.

Project outline
All host-colonising microbes utilise novel secreted proteins, termed effectors, to intercept host processes such as immune suppression, metabolic and developmental reprogramming. An understanding of effector functions and mechanisms is essential to understanding and targeting disease-causing microbes. However, small host-secreted effectors often represent novel protein folds and are under diversifying selection to evade the immune system of the host while maintaining their virulence activity.

This project aims to utilise a novel genotype-phenotype mapping approach whereby a small set of functionally tested proteins will be used to computationally identify and manipulate protein sequence regions of effector proteins which are defining their virulence activity.

The holder of the interdisciplinary fellowship would apply a combination of both biological approaches such as effector protein sequence engineering and host tissue expression followed by host colonisation studies, and theoretical or computational techniques including secondary structure prediction and the application of sampling algorithms for genotype-phenotype maps.

Application deadline
midnight, March 29th 2019

Application process
and contact Sebastian Ahnert ( and Sebastian Schornack ( to arrange for the supporting statement of the host department, and the formal approval of the host department (Please leave time for this before the application deadline!).