Diagnostics for infectious disease with pandemic potential

The diagnostics group has been key in the development and evaluation of novel point-of-care diagnostics for COVID-19. We have worked with industry partners on prototype tests and are the FIND evaluation site in the UK, an international multi-centre partnership to evaluate COVID-19 diagnostic tests.

We aim to take on a PhD student to work at the interface with trusted industry partners such as Mologic and Diatropix for rapid diagnostic tests prototypes and into manufacturing for African settings. A successful candidate would work on diseases with pandemic potential such as SARS-CoV-2, CCHF, Lassa fever, and be encouraged to work from basic research, producing antigens with diagnostic potential, making prototype tests, and performing diagnostic evaluations on key infectious diseases in endemic settings.

We are an enthusiastic and friendly team, and this project has enormous scope for impact, and is linked with the HPRU EZI.

Where does the project lie on the Translational Pathway?

T2 (Human/Clinical Research) – T3 (Evidence into Practice)

Expected Outputs

The main output of this PhD programme will be either prototype diagnostic tests, and/or evaluation data from field settings, this data will advance diagnostics to WHO-prequalification.

We expect to publish at least two or three high quality papers and will encourage and support the PhD student to apply for small grants during the PhD (such as RSTMH), and by the end of the programme to apply for fellowships.


Training Opportunities

Category 3 facilities, protein purification, molecular training

Training from SME in commercialisation of RDTs & molecular tests, learn from business leaders . At LSTM benefit from group of diagnostic experts and training in the research agenda and connection to the Global Health world of diagnostics.


Skills Required

Knowledge of global health, diagnostic evaluation and molecular techniques preferable but can be developed 


Key Publications associated with this project

Rapid development of COVID-19 rapid diagnostics for low resource settings: accelerating delivery through transparency, responsiveness, and open collaboration Adams et al. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.29.20082099

Unwin V, et al. Use of a highly-sensitive rapid diagnostic test to screen for malaria in pregnancy in Indonesia Malar J. 2020 19(1):28. doi: 10.1186/s12936-020-3110-6.

Edwards T et al. Analytical and clinical performance of a Chikungunya qRT-PCR for Central and South America. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2017; 89(1):35-39. doi:10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2017.06.001

Dynamics of IgG seroconversion and pathophysiology of COVID-19 infections.  medRxiv 2020.06.07.20124636; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.06.07.20124636


Saliva offers a sensitive, specific and non-invasive alternative to upper respiratory swabs for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis. medRxiv 2020.07.09.20149534; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.07.09.20149534

Deadline: Thursday 11th February 2021; 12:00 noon GMT

Further details on the MRC/DTP and CASE programmes and application guidance and process can be found here