7 February 2018

EMBO Fellowship awarded to IICD PhD Student

A PhD student in the IICD department has been awarded a prestigious short term fellowship from the European Molecule Biology Organisation.

The Sheffield Medical School

Yang Li (3rd Year PhD student, supervised by Endre Kiss-Toth and Heather Wilson) has been awarded a prestigious short term fellowship from the European Molecule Biology Organisation (EMBO) to work in Dr Marlene Dreux’s lab (INSERM, Lyon) for 2 months to study ‘The importance of STING mediated interferon responses in macrophages during ZIKA and Dengue virus infections’.

Yang said: “It's really a surprise that I have been awarded a highly competitive European short term fellowship. The Fellowship will research type I interferon signalling which underpins critical antiviral response against Dengue and Zika infections.


It's really a surprise that I have been awarded a highly competitive European short term fellowship.

Yang Li

PhD student | Department of Infection, Immunity & Cardiovascular Disease


She explained: "The fellowship will research type I interferon signalling which underpins critical antiviral response against Dengue and Zika infections. We hope to discover whether the DNA-inducing antiviral adaptor STING (Stimulator for Interferon Genes) could be a potential target of Zika virus or Dengue virus infection machinery and if these two viruses adopt a similar mechanism that evades STING-stimulated type I interferons.

We are studying this question in primary human macrophages as these cells in the placental tissues are most important for Zika virus transmission from mother to foetus, which potentiates catastrophic diseases such as microcephaly and Guillain-Barr Syndrome. We hope the research could benefit therapeutic design to facilitate current medical approach in medicine."

Congratulations Yang and enjoy the experience.

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