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PhD and Postdoctoral Research Position in Virology, Parasitology and Immunology at Ghent University, 2012 Belgium

The project aims at a better understanding of the role of pigs in influenza pandemics. Pandemic influenza viruses come from wild birds, but they must adapt to efficient replication and transmission in humans to cause a pandemic. Pigs are considered important intermediate hosts in which avian viruses adapt to mammals before they transmit to humans. However, the exact role of pigs is unclear. The international consortium involved in the FP7 project will study the nature of the genetic changes that are required for adaptation of an avian virus in pigs and for its subsequent transmission from pigs to humans and between humans. Also, it will study the extent of cross-protection between antigenically different influenza viruses (heterovariant and heterosubtypic cross-protection), knowing that pre-existing immunity can affect the occurrence and severity of a pandemic.

Degree in veterinary medicine, medicine or bioscience engineering/cell and gene technology. Required skills and interests: -A strong experience in molecular biology is a prerequisite -A thorough background in cell biology, immunology and virology, both theoretical and practical -Affinity to work with pigs