Postgraduate research opportunities

Development of a vaccine against leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis is a serious health threat. Current there is no clinical vaccine. This project will build on pervious studies to develop a recombinant protein vaccine to protects against leishmaniasis.

Number of places



17 February 2020


36 Months


2:1 Honours degree or overseas equivalent

UKRI Studentship Eligibility

The eligibility criteria for UKRI funding has changed for studentships commencing in the 2021/22 academic year. Now, all home and international students are eligible to apply for UKRI funding which will cover the full stipend and tuition fees at the home rate (not the international rate). Under the new criteria, UKRI have stipulated a maximum percentage of international students that can be recruited each year against individual training grants. This will be managed at the institutional level for all EPSRC DTP and ICASE grants. For EPSRC CDT grants, this will be managed by the individual CDT administrative/management team. For ESRC and AHRC studentships the final funding decision will be made by the respective grant holder.


To be classed as a home student, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK national (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter.


The residency requirements are based on the Education (Fees and Awards) (England) Regulations 2007 and subsequent amendments. Normally to be eligible for a full award a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship (with some further constraint regarding residence for education).

If a student does not meet the criteria above, they will be classed as an international student. The international portion of the tuition fee cannot be funded by the UKRI grant and must be covered from other sources. International students are permitted to self-fund the difference between the home and international fee rates.

Project Details

Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by infection with the protozoan parasite Leishmania, which is transmitted by female sand flies. The type of disease caused by the parasite depends on the infecting species and the host’s immune response but three main forms occur, cutaneous, mucocutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis. The World Health Organisation estimates that 350 million people, living in 98 countries, are at risk of contracting leishmaniasis, and each year approximately 1.5 million new cases of cutaneous and 500,000 of visceral leishmaniasis are reported. In terms of disease burden, leishmaniasis is responsible for 2,357,000 DALYs (Disability-Adjusted Life Years) lost due to ill effects caused by the disease. We have shown that is it possible to protect against Leishmania infection by using gamma glutamyl cysteine synthetase as a vaccine candidate.   We will continue our studies to develop an oral on inhalable anti-Leishmania vaccine.


Techniques to be used:

Recombinant DNA technology, aseptic tissue culture techniques, parasite maintenance, IVIS imaging and immunological assays e.g. immune responses using ELISA assays, lymphocyte proliferations assays, Greiss assay.

Funding Details

Applicant must find own funding to pay tuition and bench fees throughout studies


Primary Supervisor: Dr K. C Carter




Secondary Supervisor: Martin Wiese



Further information

1. Sundar S, Singh OP, Chakravarty J. Visceral leishmaniasis elimination targets in India, strategies for preventing resurgence.
Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2018, 16:805-812.
2. Moafi M, Rezvan H, Sherkat R, Taleban R. Leishmania Vaccines Entered in Clinical Trials: A Review of Literature.Int J Prev Med. 2019 Jun 7;10:953. Henriquez et al. (2010) Vaccination with recombinant Leishmania donovani gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase fusion protein protects against L. donovani infection. J Parasitol.96(5):929-36

Contact us


Dr K. C Carter