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Master Thesis: The antiviral roles of ubiquitin-like modifications

One of the most important challenges facing biomedical research is to understand how our immune system defends against invading pathogens. In the Swatek lab, we aim to understand the roles of ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like modifications in the antiviral response. These modifications have emerged as key regulators of the signalling pathways that sense and respond to invading pathogens. The ubiquitin-like protein, ISG15, is highly upregulated in response to viral infection and labels thousands of proteins to help shape the host defence response. To interfere with ISG15 signalling, many viruses remove and redirect these signals, and we have previously identified an elegant example of viral ISG15 suppression. Surprisingly, however, the host proteins that bind and transduce these signals into a cellular function are largely unknown. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms of ISG15 recognition has the potential to unlock exciting new areas of immune signalling and reveal previously unrecognized therapeutic targets. This project specifically aims to further our understanding of ISG15 recognition.

Students interested in gaining knowledge in ubiquitin biology and hands-on experience in state-ofthe-art biochemistry, biophysics, structural biology, and mass spectrometry are encouraged to apply. The successful student will have the opportunity to work at the bench with their supervisor and be a part of the MRC PPU and Division of Signal Transduction Therapy (DSTT) community in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee.
Please contact Kirby Swatek if you are interested (kswatek001[ät]dundee.ac.uk).
• must be currently enrolled in a master’s program
• have approval from their institution to perform an internship or master’s thesis research abroad