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Current opportunities for collaboration

The grid below highlights some of the projects and topics for which Newton partner country researchers are currently seeking a UK collaborator or UK host institution. It is possible to sort entries alphabetically by "Research area", "Partner country", "Partner institution", and "Call". 
To request further information about any of the projects and their lead applicants, please contact us at specifying which project you are interested in and we will provide you with further details.   

Proposed project or topic for collaboration

​Vaccinology, Nanotechnology, Immunizations, antigen specific B-cell and T-cell responses,protein purification,virus neutralization tests, virus propagation

​Development of vaccine delivery vehicles to enhance immunogenecity of subunit vaccines. We use a range of nanoparticles as delivery vehicles which are consisted of polymers, metals etc. We also use delivery vehicles of biological origin like outer membrane vesicles (OMVs). We synthesize these nanobased delivery vehicles and load antigens and examine the immune responses invivo. We are looking for opportunities where we can explore new adjuvant engineering technologies and noval vaccine formulations. Also we are interested in exploring animal models for challenge infection in case of dengue and other viruses.

BiotechnologyIndiaUniversity of Hyderabad
Newton Fund PhD call - India

​Diabetic Neuropathic Pain, TRP Channels

​Neuropathic pain associated with long-term diabetes affects about 50% of all diabetics. India stands second in the world in diabetic population (72.9 million in 2017), projected to rise to 98 million by 2030. Thus a major fraction of Indians suffer from diabetic neuropathic pain. In spite of decades of research in this field, current symptomatic treatment is only available for pain, with no drugs directly targeting the complex pathophysiology of pain. Oxidative stress is one of the main pathogenic events of diabetic neuropathy, which subsequently leads to neuropathic pain. Redox-sensing TRP channels (TRPM2 and TRPC5) are activated in oxidative stress conditions. I am interested in elucidating the interaction of these channels in neurovascular coupling at lumbar spinal cord under experimental diabetic condition using pharmacological approaches. I desire to learn techniques like primary cell culture, fluorescent microscopy and electrophysiology. The study will thus generate potential drug candidates for diabetic neuropathic pain patients.

HealthIndiaNational Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, (NIPER), SAS Nagar
Newton Fund PhD Placement call - India
Biotechnology, Virology, Molecular Virology, Receptor Interaction,
Proteomics, Protein Protein Interaction

I would like to join a research project which has a proteomics background and related to virology work. I would like to study viral protein interaction and networking if I get a chance. My current research topic is on viral entry pathway into the human cell. I am dealing with the receptor proteins on human cells which facilitates virus entry. Currently I am working with Alphaviruses, but I am ready to take up the challenge to decipher the pathways of any interesting virus. COVID19 related research is also a field I am interested. I am a Biosafety Level 3 trained student and would like to have an opportunity to work with the mechanism of virus entry. My primary focus is around viral entry and internalization factors and development of small molecules which can inhibit virus entry and be a potential target for therapeutics.

HealthIndiaRegional Center for Biotechnology
Newton Fund - PhD Placement Call


We aim to work on telomerase in relation to lung related diseases in elderly people/airway remodelling.

Newton International Fellowships

​Microbiology, Microorganisms, Rice, Nitrogen nutrition, Phenotypic plasticity, chemical fertilizer

Impact of beneficial microorganisms and nitrogen nutrition on
phenotypic plasticity of rice (Oryza sativa L.) genotype.

My aim is to study nitrogen uptake to decrease environmental disturbance occurring due to excess chemical fertilizer use. Another important point is to help resource poor farmers by increasing the crop yields via BNF. Right now I am working on nitrogen fixing Epihytes and endophytes and ammonia oxidising bacteria. I am looking for microbiologically helpful technical support to advance my learning.
MicrobiologyIndiaOsmania University
Newton Fund PhD Placement call - India
Biological control; Antagonism; Fusarium wilt; Rhizosphere microbial
metabolites; Siderophores; Antimicrobials

Production And Characterization Of Rhizosphere Microbial Metabolites For Plant Growth Promotion And Antagonism Against Fungal Wilt Pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici In Tomatoes.

I work on Plant growth promoting rhizosphere microbial communities with antagonistic role against Fusarium wilt in tomatoes. I also work on induced systemic resistance and removal of pesticide based heavy metal implications in agricultural soils by siderophores from these microbial symbionts. I have identified few antifungal small molecules in antagonistic rhizobacteria and the papers are accepted in reputed journals. However, the scientific gatherings who work on these area face several challenges at the field level.

In response to these challenges my research explores a personalised biofertilizer approach which resembles our "Personalised medicine approach in modern medicine". I mean that one should monitor all the physicochemical and biological parameters of pathogen infested soil and apply the kind of microbial biofertilizer consortia accordingly. This is possible when develop a kit based method to observe both culturable and uncultured microbiome in the rhizosphere soil and analyse the data available to facilitate the release of appropriate bioinoculant groups to combat prevailing biotic and abiotic stress and all these shall impart rhizosphere competence and finally a sustainable growth and yield in tomatoes.

I hope my academic stay in different region especially in UK shall support these testings and development of a cost effective kit to analyse the microbial community structure of rhizosphere for a worthy release of microbial bioinoculants available with my hands.

MicrobiologyIndiaAlagappa University
British Council Newton Fund PhD placement call - India

​Nucleic Acid-Protein Interaction, RNA Biology, Biophysics, lncRNA, Gquadruplex

Nucleolin (NCL) is an evolutionarily conserved RNA-binding protein found predominantly in the nucleolus. The RNA binding ability of NCL attributed to four RBD (RNA binding domain) and RGG domain, helps in binding to canonical and non-canonical structures, such as stem-loop, hairpin, and G-quadruplex. Thus, it is indeed essential to figure out the preferences of nucleolin binding as well as the affinity of binding. Using biophysical methods, we determined the binding preference of nucleolin towards G-quadruplex via truncated NCL. Further, one of the well-studied quadruplex forming Telo and its RNA counterpart Terra sequence was chosen for study and it was observed that RRM3 and RRM4 showed preferential binding towards Terra. Next, we intend to characterize the binding ability using diverse range of sequence for confirmation. Since NCL modulates the expression of several oncogenic genes, thereby, it is imperative to dissect the recognition ability of relevant domains for therapeutic purposes.

HealthIndiaCSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB)
Newton Fund PhD Placement call - India
Antibiotic Resistance, Ant Venom, Bee Venom, Antimicrobials, Alternative Medicine, Synergy

Natural antimicrobial peptides can be utilised for fighting the drug resistance. The health agencies and research labs are engaged in the search of these options from various sources. Hymenopteran insects like ants, bees, and wasps provide a strong potential option as they bear venom which is a complex made up of various peptides exhibiting pathogen killing potential.

HealthIndiaPanjab University Chandigarh
Newton Fund PhD Placement call - India

​Minimum Free Energy Path Calculation, String Method

Conformational changes occur in biomolecules spontaneously. However, deducing the mechanism of those changes is often a formidable challenge. These changes follow the minimum free energy path (MFEP) to jump from one minimum to another minimum on a free energy landscape. Experiments and MD simulations have several caveats. Therefore, I used the idea of string method along with the MD simulation technique and developed a framework to find MFEP, thereby, the mechanism of the process. Furthermore, this can help in drug designing. I want to explore new ideas in the field of MD simulations. Recently there have been several interesting developments in the field of enhanced sampling, transition path sampling, Markov state modeling, and machine learning implementation in MD simulation. I am curious to learn such techniques under the guidance of an expert in such a field.

EnergyIndiaIndian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
Newton Fund PhD Placement call - India

Cancer Biology, Tubulin, Computer Aided Drug Discovery, MD Simulations, Histopathology, Hematology

Drugs that target microtubules, such as taxols, are important chemotherapeutic drugs in clinical management of breast cancer. However, these drugs are plagued with serious toxicity. Patients have also developed resistance against taxols, suggesting a need for additional anti microtuble agents that have no side effects. We show that Noscapine (an opium alkaloid, orally-bioavailable, non-toxic and used as a cough depressant) and its derivatives selectively kills tumor cells and have potent anti tumor activity against solid tumors in mice. Our preliminary studies with tumors developed with MCF 7 breast cancer cells have shown that noscapine reduce tumor growth, but at high concentration (~300 mg/kg body weight). Thus in this study we are approaching breast cancer therapy by developing a promising analogue of Noscapine (we call Noscapoinoid) that is non-toxic to normal tissues and optimize its synergistic combination with docetaxel (a clinically used taxane) for better therapeutic outcome.

HealthIndiaSambalpur University, Orissa
Newton Fund PhD Placement call - India

Pteropods, Paleoceanographic Studies

In order to understand the extent of climatic change and ocean conditions, microfossils preserved in the marine sediments are excellent tools. Among the micro paleontological proxies, pteropods are highly sensitive to dissolution and therefore indicate the changes in ocean chemistry, monsoon variation, productivity, fluctuation in ACD, water mass and their properties. My aim is to evaluate aragonitic pteropods and the role of CO2 concentration in the preservation of pteropods to account for the oceanic acidification and shoaling of aragonitic compensation depth of the Indian Ocean. Among the different microfossils group, pteropods are one of the least studied plankton. The occurrences of pteropods are noted since cretaceous but the poor preservation of highly susceptible aragonitic shells caused the mere presence of pteropodic shells in the sediments except in marginal sea. There are limited studies of late Quaternary pteropod preservation and abundance record in the Indian Ocean. So far, there is no longer record beyond late Quaternary from the Indian Ocean. The present study proposes to take up longer record and to understand late Cenozoic changes in the pteropods preservation and ACD fluctuations. Present work is to fill this lacunae and it is of utmost importance to understand the extent of ocean acidification by natural and anthropogenic activities for future modeling and predictions.

ClimatologyIndiaCentral University of Kerala
Newton Fund PhD Placement call - India
Bio-inorganic Chemistry, Nitric Oxide Releasing Metal Complexes, Endothelial Cells, Nitric Oxide, Cardiovascular Diseases

Overview: Nitric Oxide (NO) plays an important role in blood pressure regulation, dissolution of blood clots, learning & memory formation and in killing pathogens such as bacteria, fungi as part of the innate immune response in human body. Studies reveal that reduced NO bioavailability is the major cause of various cardiovascular diseases (CVDs)—heart attack, stroke, hypertension etc. Indeed, under all these pathophysiological conditions low NO levels have been observed clinically and synthetic NO-releasing molecules have been found to be promising in maintaining NO balance. So, there is a good reason and hence increasing interest to develop NO releasing molecules with therapeutic potential.
CVDs are the leading cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause. An estimated about 18 million people died of CVDs in 2016, representing 31% of all global deaths. This is where success of our project contributes to social welfare.

Bio-inorganic ChemistryIndiaIndian Institute of Science, Bangalore
Newton Fund PhD placement call - India
Religion, Public Sphere, Political Mobilization, Sacred-sites, Kashmir

The engagement of religion in political movements brings credibility to the struggle and commands participation that is difficult for the believer to disregard. The political leaders in Kashmir Valley, both mainstream and separatist, have drawn legitimacy by linking the movement for self-determination not just to Islam but also to its icons—shrines and mosques. In addition, owing to the enduring conflict in Kashmir and limited space available for dissent, mosques and shrines have emerged as the predominant sites of political mobilization. However, this analysis expostulates against any simplistic understanding of the political dynamics of scared-sites and argues that they are complex spaces from where dominant ideologies are simultaneously resisted and reproduced. By employing ethnographic research and critical discourse analysis, this study suggests that in regard to Kashmir mosques and shrines have resisted Indian statist narrative, nevertheless replaced it with another hegemonic narrative, which is pan-Islamism.

Political ScienceIndiaJamia Millia Islamia
Newton Fund PhD Placement call - India
Carbon Nanotubes, Supercapacitor, Electrophoretic Deposition, Flexible Wearable Electronics

My current research is focused on the development of cost-effective, environmental friendly energy storage devices like supercapacitors for flexible wearable electronics. The developed device will provide a feasible solution in the field of energy sources for electric vehicles. The device will offer several benefits such as cost reduction, weight reduction, and improved efficiency of the overall electric vehicle, as well as potential utilisation as an energy source in biocompatible implanted medical devices to overcome the health risk and provide the long term energy solution inside the human body.

Energy, Sustainable DevelopmentIndiaIndian Institute of Technology Rookree
Newton Fund PhD Placement call - India
Cancer Immunology, PD-1/PD-L1 Pathway, Immune Checkpoints, Chemo Resistance, Multidrug Resistance

Development of resistance to chemotherapy is a major obstacle in extending the survival of patients with cancer. It has been recently observed that overexpression of programmed death ligand (PD-L1) confers chemo resistance in human breast cancers. The underlying mechanisms are unclear, however. Programmed death receptor (PD-1) is an immunosuppressive molecule expressed by T cells. By interacting with its ligands PD-L1/PD-L2 on the tumor cells, it inhibits immune responses. Chemotherapeutic drugs are known to induce the expression of PD-L1 on tumor cells. Therefore unveiling the PD-1/PD-L1 induced chemo resistance could be effective for anti-cancer therapies. I am interested to study the mechanism regulating multi drug resistance (MDR) gene expression in association with PD-L1 expression in breast cancer cells and how this might contribute to chemoresistance.

HealthIndiaKerala University
Newton Fund PhD Placement call - India

Plant Microbe Interactions, Sustainable Agriculture

My current research idea is to work in the field of plant microbe
interactions, both rhizospheric and endophytic, as these interactions are important for plant growth and development. My main aim is to study the pathways involved in these interactions and its application in the field of sustainable agriculture. India is mainly an agriculture based economy. To strengthen this, a sustainable revolution is required which boosts the agriculture with new technology, less capital investment in an eco-friendly manner.

Newton Fund PhD Placement call - India
Genome Editing, CRISPR Cas, Embryo Editing, Disease Modelling, Diagnostics

​In recent times, CRISPR Cas machinery has been successfully used for detecting infectious agents like bacteria or viruses and pathogenic Single Nucleotide Variants. One of my research objectives revolves around creating an economical CRISPR Cas9 based diagnostics (CRISPRDx) platform for detecting pathogenic nucleic acids with high sensitivity and low complexity. We were successful in designing FnCas9 Editor Linked Uniform Detection Assay (FELUDA) as a diagnostic platform and demonstrated its utility in monogenic disorder Sickle Cell Anaemia, infectious diseases like DENV, H.pylori and as a low cost diagnostic solution during disease outbreaks like COVID-19. In addition, I am involved in developing highly specific base editing proteins for double strand break free gene correction. In the long run, I wish to explore the efficacy of such base editing proteins for therapeutic correction of genetic disorders.

HealthIndiaCSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB)
Newton Fund PhD Placement call - India
​Romantic Relationships, Well-eing, Emotional Dependency, Mental
Health, Gender Role Beliefs

I would like to conduct a cross cultural comparison of Indians in the UK and India to better understand the role that cultural and geographical variations play in the behavior of individuals. I want to study the influence of gender role beliefs on emotional dependency in romantic relationships and their consequential effects on well-being and mental health. I am inclined to study emerging adulthood as it is a very recently identified age group accompanying lots of challenges and opportunities for exploration romantically and vocationally. Close relationships are key to overall well-being, including happiness, mental health, physical health, and even longevity. Romantic relationships during emerging adulthood have been linked to having a strong effect on well-being and relationship satisfaction. Health and Well-being is one of the Sustainable Development Goals and it is as important to look into mental health as wrell as physical health. The result of the study will be helpful in identifying problem areas and providing evidence for support in counseling.

Health and Well-being, Gender EqualityIndiaThe M. S. University of Baroda
Newton Fund PhD Placement call - India

​Frequency Projection, Signal Processing, MIMO Communication

​Exploiting Frequency dependent correlation between the underlay and overlay wireless network for next generation wireless communication.

Most of the present commercial mobile communication systems operate either at sub-1 GHz or sub-6 GHz frequency bands. In the future, most likely, an overlay network operating either at sub-6 GHz or millimeter-wave frequency band will be deployed in conjunction with the existing underlay network for next-generation wireless communication. With this scenario, there are many features to be exploited based on the frequency-dependent correlation between the underlay and overlay network. This may also be called frequency projection, where there is an opportunity to project certain features of the underlay network towards an overlay network. 5G at mid and high bands is well suited for deployment at existing site grids, especially when combined with low-band LTE. The addition of new frequency bands to existing implementations is a future-proof and cost-efficient way to improve performance, meet the growing needs of mobile broadband subscribers, and therefore substantial economic growth for the country.

Wireless CommunicationsIndiaIndian Institute of Technology Madras
Newton Fund PhD placement call - India

​Infectious biology, Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv, Systems biology, in vitro whole cell models

​Target identification and multi-target drug designing for Mycobacterium tuberculosis active infection by systems biology approach

Our current study aims at deducing an efficacious, shorter drug regimen that evades the persistence of tuberculosis bacterium. We have identified co-regulatory targets involved in major metabolic pathways of mycobacterium growth and survival from computational and statistical analysis on its genomic expression data. Their interaction with host environment and perturbation studies are an insightful work being conducted to understand interplay between host and pathogen that anticipates to highlight the efficiency of enlisted targets. In order to gain knowledge on how the identified targets act as potential multi-target agents to mitigate the infection, it is essential to examine their systemic functioning in an in vitro model. Thus, would like to collaborate with a laboratory where a whole cell model can be established for the multi-target approach through molecular techniques. The research study can be cue when extrapolated to eliminate infection in a developing country by designing inhibitors like anti-sense oligonucleotide therapy for infectious disease like tuberculosis.

MicrobiologyIndiaUniversity of Hyderabad
Newton Fund PhD placement call - India

​Biolinguistics, Dyslexia, Reading

​I would like to join a research project on the genetics of dyslexia. Most of the genetic research of dyslexia have come out of European and American populations. However, in recent years, dyslexia genetic research limited to India is inadequate for a comprehensive understanding of the genetic etiology of Dyslexia in the Indian population. Therefore, more replication studies on the genetic markers of reading difficulties in the Indian population are highly imperative for a comprehensive understanding of the genetics of dyslexia. Rich data on genes, genetic markers and other biological factors associated with dyslexia in the Indian population would definitely impact the policymakers and educationalists to devise educational policies and pedagogical approaches that are more inclusive.

HealthIndiaNational Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli
Newton Fund PhD Placement call - India
Metabolic Engineering, Bioprocess Engineering, Process Optimization, Genetic Engineering

​I would like to work on different metabolic engineering strategies for developing Lactobacillus strains for enhanced production of value added products (D lactic acid). I would like to get more experience in different gene editing strategies (using Crispr cas9) and also develop better tools for gene editing and optimizing metabolic flux analysis for enhanced bioproduction using low cost feedstocks. To commercialize D lactic acid produced biologically, it is necessary to optimize the overall process for high yield and productivity. Dairy waste containing huge amounts of reduced sugar are generated in huge amounts which can be easily used as feedstocks for production of D lactic acid using recombinant strains which will ultimately open the avenue for value addition to dairy industries worldwide in terms of additional revenue generation and mitigate the environmental pollution associated with current waste disposal practices.

Sustainable DevelopmentIndiaIIT Guwahati
Newton Fund PhD Placement call - India
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