Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Virology Available in the Department Veterinary Tropical Diseases

Restriction: This call is restricted to South African applicants only

Department Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria

  • Project title: Development/evaluation of novel diagnostic assays to diagnose diseases of veterinary importance, with a focus on foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)
  • Study duration: 2 years (starting date: immediately)
  • Minimum academic requirements: PhD degree in molecular biology/biochemistry
  • Added advantage and preference: Undergraduate veterinary degree
  • Funding: Stipend-ship (R240,000 per Year)

Background: The Covid-19 pandemic has spurred the development of novel technologies for the rapid and accurate diagnosis of pathogens. The aim of the fellowship will be to systematically review these novel technologies, evaluate the feasibility of implementing them in our laboratory and apply them to diseases of veterinary importance, with a focus on foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). The problem with current surveillance approaches for FMD is that they are based on physical inspection and, to a limited extent, on laboratory-based testing where the results only become available some weeks later. In Southern Africa where the Southern African Territories (SAT) serotypes of FMD virus predominate many, if not most, infections of both ruminant wildlife and domestic livestock are subclinical. Current surveillance systems are insensitive and therefore of limited value. To correct this deficiency, rapid sensitive and specific systems are required that enables detection of FMD virus. There are a number of commercially available test systems that may be suitable for the above purpose but their accuracy needs to be verified independently. If none of the available systems prove sufficiently sensitive and specific, a new approach may need to be developed.

Aim and objectives of the project: The aim of the project is to develop rapid and accurate diagnostic assays for FMD and other diseases of veterinary importance under South African conditions. The objectives are to (1) review novel diagnostic technologies, (2) evaluate the feasibility of implementing these technologies in our laboratory, (3) develop assays of veterinary importance using these technologies, or procure commercially available assays that may fulfil the aim, (4) identify and procure a panel of appropriate field samples for testing, (5) evaluate the accuracy of the test systems in the laboratory and, if possible, also in the field, using the panel of field samples

CONTACT PERSON: Prof. Melvyn Quan, Department Veterinary Tropical Diseases; E-mail: melvyn.quan@up.ac.za Telephone: +27 (0)12 529 8142

How to Apply: Send your CV, certified academic records and a motivational letter to the above-mentioned contact person. Two academic reference letters will be an advantage in the selection of the successful candidate
Deadline for submission of applications: 31 March 2022

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