Antibodyome analytics: the development and application of new methods for studying dynamic changes in the human antibody repertoire

Dr Adrian Shepherd. Department of Biological Sciences, Birkbeck University of London
Mr James Snowden, UCB

Candidates are advise to apply as early as possible as the selection and interview process will commence immediately and continue until a suitable candidate is found.


Project Description

The antibody repertoire of each individual is both diverse and unique, shaped by their specific history of infection and vaccination. Recently, researchers have begun using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) to capture snapshots of antibody repertoires as they change dynamically over time.
This new approach of repetoire sequencing (Rep-seq) has the potential to transform our understanding of how individuals respond in different ways to pathogens and vaccines. The project is a collaboration between Dr Adrian Shepherd (Birkbeck, University of London) and UCB (the UK's leading company in therapeutic antibody discovery).


The aim of the project is to develop and apply new methods for analysis and vizualization of Rep-seq data, focusing in particular on global properties that may help us gain broad insights into different repertoire "states" (e.g., acute infection vs. chronic infection vs. immune dysfunction). Many different approaches are potentially useful - "big data" visualisation techniques, network analytics and deep learning methods - and we anticipate that the student will have considerable input into the direction(s) taken.
The tools and insights developed will be used to support the therapeutic Ab discovery activities of UCB (e.g. through novel ways of characterising repertoire diversity) and to contribute to existing Shepherd Group collaborations (notably the application of Rep-seq to HIV and hepatitis C infection, haemophilia A and breast cancer).


This project would suit a student with good programming and/or mathematical skills who is interested in apply these skills to an area of biology that is of immediate therapeutic relevance. Applicants must hold, or be expected to achieve, a first or high upper second-class undergraduate honours degree or equivalent (for example BA, BSc, MSci) or a Masters degree in a relevant subject.


This PhD position is covered by a CASE studentship fully-funded by the BBSRC, providing an annual tax-free stipend at an enhanced rate, the student will be a member of the BBSRC-funded London Interdisciplinary Doctoral program in Bioscience (http://lido-dtp.ac.uk/index.html). The usual BBSRC eligibility criteria apply. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Adrian Shepherd (a.shepherd@mail.cryst.bbk.ac.uk) for informal discussion.

Application

Candidates are advise to apply as early as possible as the selection and interview process will commence immediately and continue until a suitable candidate is found.



  • Completed Application Form (Sections A and B) including details of two Academic References
  • The disability and ethnic origin monitoring form
  • Official Final Transcripts from Completed Programmes of Study
  • Official Interim Transcripts from On-going Programmes of Study
  • English Language Qualification (if required, please see below)
  • Academic CV
  • Copy of Passport

Please click the relevant links below to download a zipped folder of application documents in your preferred format.
Application Pack (Word).zip
Application Pack (PDF).zip