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STUDENT PROJECT AND VACANCIES

Artemis is looking for masters student interested to perform 1) Literature study or 2) practical training. See below a brief description of the projects:

1. Understanding the role of cytokine profiles in protection or causation of disease.

Cytokines and chemokines are mediators that are stimulated in response to stress or damage. These mediators are small proteins that play an important role in cell signaling. It is generally believed that mediators are meant to communicate with cells nearby or distant from the producers cells and consequently affect the function of other cells. At least two parameters determine whether the induced mediators have a positive or negative effect on bystanders cells and as a result manifestation of disease: 1) concentration and 2) combination of the different mediators. This study aims to identify how the two parameters associate with protection or disease. For this purpose, the student will first perform an in-depth literature study focusing on:
–    Infectious diseases (viral, bacterial and parasitic)
–    Immunologic diseases (allergy and auto-immunity)
–    Cancer
–    Vaccine studies

Especially studies using multiplex platforms, such as transcriptomics, proteomics, luminex will be selected for analysis of the two parameters in relation to disease (severity) or protection. Secondly, the student will use data in the public domain (dbases, published articles, etc) to test associations with level or combination of cytokines with disease or protection. For this purpose the student will use the unsupervised clustering technology.

Outcome: This literature study will be written and submitted for publication in a peer-review journal.


2. Development of CRISPR/Cas system as an antiviral system for treatment of Rabies

This project is an integration of virology and molecular cell biology. The goal of the project is to develop a treatment against Rabies virus. Rabies virus is the cause of encephalitis in humans and animals. Infection with the virus is lethal in 100% of the cases. Despite the availability of an effective vaccine the virus kills more than 60.000 people per year, which is equivalent to 1 person every 9 minutes, due to the fact that the vaccine is not affordable in resource-poor countries. To date there is no effective treatment available. A lot of work has been conducted on the development of conventional antivirals (nucleoside and non-nucleoside analogs) without much success. Within this project we want to test a different, less conventional approach by directly targeting the viral RNA. To this end, the antiviral activity of a nucleic acid targeting molecule produced by the bacterium Francisella Novicida will be evaluated. The use ofthis as treatment is not a novel strategy.

The primary research question that will be addressed in this project is whether CRISPR/Cas has antiviral activity against Rabies virus. To answer this question, the following steps will be taken:

  1. The cloned construct will be manipulated in different way to increase its specificty against rabies virus RNA.
  2. Testing the in vitro RNAse activity for rabirs virus RNA.
  3. Testing the antiviral activity against Vesticular Stomatitis virus (VSV) using  eukaryotic plasmids and purified proteins.
  4. Testing the antiviral activity against Rabies virus using purified proteins and eukaryotic plasmids.

Techniques used during this project:

– PCR

– Cloning

– Transfection

– Immunofluorescence

– Western and Southern blot

– Cell and Virus culture

Outcome: The student will be a co-author on any publication that may arise as a result this work.

 

For more information about these projects, contact Dr. Byron Martina by e-mail (b.martina@artemisonehealth.com) or phone (+31 306355444).

 
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