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


31 July 2020


36 Months


2:1 Honours degree or overseas equivalent

Eligibility for RCUK studentships

  • Research Council (RC) fees and stipend can only be awarded to UK and EU students and not to EEA or International students.
  • EU students are only eligible for RC stipend if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years, including for study purposes, immediately prior to starting their PhD.
  • If an EU student cannot fulfil this condition then they are eligible for a fees only studentship.
  • International students cannot be funded from RC funds unless they are ‘settled’ in the UK. ‘Settled’ means being ordinarily resident in the UK without any immigration restrictions on the length of stay in the UK. To be ‘settled’ a student must either have the Right to Abode or Indefinite leave to remain in the UK or have the right of permanent residence in the UK under EC law. If the student’s passport describes them as a British citizen they have the Right of Abode.
  • Students with full Refugee status are eligible for fees and stipend.

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