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Help Stop TB Researchers Seek New Team Members
By: Dr. Anna Croft
University of Nottingham, UK
29 Mar 2018   

Summary
The Help Stop TB researchers are looking to expand their team as they analyze the large amount of data generated by World Community Grid. Read about their plans in this update.

Dr. Athina Meletiou (pictured above speaking about the Help Stop TB project) recently completed her PhD and has begun a new position. We wish her the best of luck, and thank her for her work on the project.

Background

Tuberculosis remains one the world’s major killers from infectious disease. The World Health Organization announced in a recent report that 6.3 million new cases of TB were reported in 2016, up from 6.1 million in 2015.

Tuberculosis can be difficult to treat because the bacterium which causes the disease has an unusual coating which protects it from many drugs and from a person’s immune system. Among the fats, sugars and proteins in this coat, the TB bacterium contains a type of fatty molecules called mycolic acids. The Help Stop TB (HSTB) project simulates the behavior of these molecules to better understand how they offer protection to the TB bacteria. With the resulting information, scientists may be able to design better ways to attack this protective layer and therefore develop better treatments for this deadly disease.

Congratulations and Changes

Since our last update, we’ve been undergoing further changes to the project team. 

Athina Meletiou is now Dr. Athina Meletiou, having successfully passed her PhD viva (oral examination). She has taken up an EU-funded postdoctoral fellowship working on another large data project of one of our colleagues at University of Nottingham, Professor Charles Laughton, “Advanced multiscale simulation of DNA.”

Athina will still be touching base, as we will be preparing publications from her work in the near future. In the meantime, we wish her well with her next step in her career, with many thanks for the hard work she has put into the HSTB project to grow it into the success it has been so far.

The Search for New Team Members

As a result of Athina’s move, we are now actively looking for new team members, especially those with a strong interest in data science, as we now have a significant quantity of data to mine, for which we would love to apply new approaches. We also want to tackle the development of accurate membrane models, now that we have sufficient atomistic data. Applications from suitably qualified chemists, biochemists, mathematicians, engineers, and computer scientists are welcomed, both for PhD-level and postdoctoral posts.

Our opportunities include a BBSRC-funded PhD studentship available to UK/EU applicants (with applications for 2019 start to open later this year), and we have the possibility to support exceptionally talented potential students through our local PhD scholarships scheme for a start this year.

We are also happy to help support qualified applicants through our fellowships processes--these include applications for the prestigious EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships, and local Nottingham Research fellowships or Anne-McLaren fellowships (see our website for details) alongside those from the learned societies.

If you have the drive and the skills to join us, please get in touch.