SMIDDY Newsletter (26.07.2013)


1. Submit your abstract to SMIDDY 2013 until July 31!
2. PhD position: Molecular Epidemiology of HIV and its Coinfections, University of Zurich and the ETH Zurich, Switzerland
3. Early Stage Research Fellow: Theoretical Immunology, Department of Immunology, Imperial College London, UK
4. IARC Fellowships on mathematical modeling of sexually transmitted infections, Lyon, France
5. PhD position: Transmission of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus, Public Health England (PHE), London, UK

1. Submit your abstract to SMIDDY 2013 until July 31!

Please visit the SMIDDY website for registration, submission of abstracts and further information:

Important dates:
– Abstract Submission Deadline: 31 July
– Registration Deadline: 31 August

2. PhD position: Molecular Epidemiology of HIV and its Coinfections, University of Zurich and the ETH Zurich, Switzerland

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD-Student on a project at the interface of bioinformatics, evolution, and the epidemiology of HIV. The project combines molecular epidemiology approaches with clinical data and mathematical models in order to investigate the transmission of HIV and its coinfections. The PhD student will carry out his projects in the context of the Swiss HIV Cohort Study (SHCS) Drug Resistance Database. The SHCS is the ideal setting for these projects as it is highly representative for the HIV population in Switzerland and combines sequence and clinical data of extraordinary quality. The student will work on a range of specified research projects, but will be also highly encouraged and expected to develop and investigate his own research questions.

The ideal applicant has strong quantitative/computational skills and a strong interest in infectious-disease epidemiology. The applicant should hold a Masters degree in a discipline relevant to the project (e.g. Epidemiology, Statistics, Mathematics, Biomedical Sciences, Physics, Computer Science).

The PhD will take place within the PhD-Program Epidemiology and Biostatistics of the Life Science Zurich Graduate School (run jointly by the University of Zurich and the ETH Zurich). Research will be conducted at the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University Hospital of Zurich (University of Zurich; head of research: Huldrych Günthard). The Division of Infectious Diseases provides a highly interdisciplinary and translational research environment with links both to clinical practice and basic science. Moreover, we are strongly interconnected with a variety of other research institutes in Zurich and beyond. In particular, we maintain strong collaborations with the Institute of Medical Virology (Alexandra Trkola) at the University of Zurich, and the Institutes of Theoretical Biology (Sebastian Bonhoeffer) and Computational Biology (Niko Beerenwinkel) at the ETH Zurich.

Applicants should send a cover letter, a detailed CV, and contact information for two or three academic references to:

3. Early Stage Research Fellow: Theoretical Immunology, Department of Immunology, Imperial College London, UK

Salary: £38,077.84 per annum

You will join the Theoretical Immunology group headed by Dr Becca Asquith, carrying out research on quantitative human T cell immunology. You will have the opportunity to register for a PhD.

You must have a good first degree in an appropriate discipline (such as Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science or Bioinformatics) or equivalent qualifications or experience. An MSc in Mathematical Biology or equivalent would be desirable. Previous experience of mathematical immunology would be an advantage.

For informal enquires about the post please contact Becca Asquith (

The post is full-time and fixed term for three years from September 2013 (start date negotiable), and is based at the St Mary’s Campus, Paddington, London.

Eligibility: The Marie Curie Initial Training Network is providing this funding for an early stage researcher. This means a researcher who, at the time of recruitment, has not yet been awarded a doctorate degree and is in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of his/her research career. At the time of recruitment the researcher must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc) in the UK for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to his/her recruitment.

Our preferred method of application is online via our website at (please select “Job Search” then enter the job title or vacancy reference number into “Keywords”). Please complete and upload an application form as directed quoting reference number HM20132013157.

Alternatively, if you are unable to apply online, please email to request an application form.

Closing Date: 19 August 2013 (Midnight BST)

4. IARC Fellowships on mathematical modeling of sexually transmitted infections, Lyon, France

The Infection and Cancer Epidemiology (ICE) Group at IARC ( ) is expanding its research activities in the field of mathematical modeling of sexually transmitted infections, with a particular interest in infections related to cancers, such as HPV and HIV infections. Very soon, within the framework of the IARC Fellowship for Cancer Research (, IARC will invite applications for training fellowships in 2014-2015 from junior scientists. Fellowships are tenable at the IARC in Lyon, France (, and applicants are eligible from any country.

The fellowship is for a period of two years, the second year being subject to satisfactory appraisal. Fellowship can be extended for two additional years. Candidates are required to have finished their doctoral degree (Ph.D.) within five years of the closing date for application or be in the final phase of completing their doctoral degree. The working languages at IARC are English and French, and candidates must be proficient in English at a level sufficient for scientific communication.

Candidates interested in developing a project based on mathematical modeling of sexually transmitted infections related to cancers should contact Dr. Iacopo Baussano ( before application in order to interact closely to establish a proposed program of mutual interest.

5. PhD position: Transmission of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus, Public Health England (PHE), London, UK

We invite applications for a funded PhD studentship based at Public Health England (PHE) with registration at UCL, “Quantifying the role of the “revolving door syndrome” to the transmission of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus in care homes”

Based at: Modelling and Economic Unit, Public Health England, Colindale London, NW9 5EQ
Supervisors: Sarah Deeny (Public Health England), Mark Wilcox (University of Leeds, Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust & Public Health England), Carolyne Horner (Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust & Public Health England) and Susan Hopkins (University College London & Public Health England)
Registration at: University College London

Background and Objectives
Care homes, caring for elderly residents are considered to be an important link in the transmission of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which can cause serious infections. Due to age and frailty, the residents of a care home are more likely to be admitted to hospital, and may become colonised with MRSA without showing any symptoms. They can then transmit MRSA to other residents in the care home. This process may occur repeatedly and is known as the “revolving door syndrome”. This project provides an exciting opportunity for a student to analyse data collected during a controlled intervention study implemented in 65 care homes in the Leeds area between November 2006 and February 2009 (1,2). This will inform and parameterise a mathematical model of MRSA transmission in a care home and hospital which the student will construct during their PhD. Using the model the student will then simulate the “revolving door syndrome” and examine its impact on MRSA incidence and control.

Person specification
This project is jointly supervised by researchers and clinicians in Public Health England, UCL, Leeds Teaching Hospital and University of Leeds and would be ideal for a student (UK and EU applicants) with a first or upper second class honours degree and preferably an MSc or MPhil with a significant computational component (including but not limited to Computational Biology, Epidemiology or Statistics). The student should have a keen interest in pursuing research to inform policy in infectious disease transmission and control. Please note that this studentship is available for UK/EU applicants only.

Dependent on the academic background of the student, we will provide informal or if deemed necessary formal additional training in microbiology, epidemiology or infectious disease modelling as appropriate. Therefore, the ideal candidate would have a large appetite for learning new skills, techniques and be able and willing to exploit opportunities for innovation and creativity as they arise.

The successful candidate will also have to fulfil University College London postgraduate registration and entry requirements:

In addition to developing the successful candidate’s existing quantitative skills in mathematical modelling and data analysis; this project provides an exiting opportunity to develop a foundation in epidemiology and infection control supported by a multi-disciplinary supervisory team. This studentship will allow a highly motivated student to produce clinically relevant research that will inform our understanding of the spread and control of MRSA outside the hospital setting.

Location and PhD registration:
The student will be based in the Modelling and Economics Unit (PHE, Colindale). However the successful candidate will be expected to work closely with collaborators and co-supervisors in Leeds through regular teleconferences and some time spent working on site in Leeds. You will be registered with the University College London and participate in the post-graduate training programme as required.

Closing date for applications: 31st July 2013
To apply, please submit your CV and a covering letter by email. In your covering letter please state why you think you are suited to the research project, tell us about your background and quantitative skills and study and finally why you are interested in the studentship and research subject. For further information please contact Sarah Deeny (

1. Horner, C, M Wilcox, B Barr et al. BMJ Open 2012; e000423:

2. Horner, C, P Parnell, D Hall et al. 2013 J Hosp Infect 2013;