The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research, is a world leader in infectious disease research and vaccine development for humans and animals. Located at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, VIDO is home to one of the largest and most advanced containment level 3 facilities in the world. To strengthen the preparedness for emerging infectious diseases we are currently expanding our infrastructure to include containment level 4 capacity, a GMP vaccine manufacturing facility, and a new animal housing facility. Our vision includes having the capacity to study any emerging disease in any animal model embracing a One Health approach to prevent emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in humans and animals.

Project description

Vaccines prevent millions of infections every year. However, the development of new effective vaccines against global killers like AIDS, tuberculosis, and influenza is challenged by the demand for induction of cell-mediated and mucosal immunity to protect the host at mucosal sites of pathogen entrance. A revolutionizing approach is to vaccinate with in vitro transcribed messenger RNA (mRNA) carrying the molecular instructions for in situ synthesis of antigenic protein directly in the host. However, the design criteria for a safe drug delivery system that delivers mRNA to the cytosol and concomitantly induces protective mucosal T cell immunity are elusive. Hence, the purpose of the project is to decode these highly fundamental design criteria. The successful candidate will use pharmaceutical nanotechnology, molecular biology, cell biology, and immunology tools to study modulation of mucosal immune responses by mRNA vaccines in animal models of viral infection. The project envisages new design principles for mRNA delivery systems engineered to elicit robust mucosal T-cell responses that can have a tremendous impact on the global public health.

Principal supervisor

Aneesh Thakur

E-mail:, direct phone: +1 (639)-994 8344

For more information, visit: Aneesh Thakur | Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (


·        Recent MSc degree in pharmacy, biochemistry, nanotechnology, or relevant biomedical sciences.

·        Fluency in English and excellent communication skills.

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants

·        Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project

·        Relevant work experience

·        Scientific publications

·        The grade point average achieved

·        Other professional activities

·        Language skills

·        The successful applicant is also required to be enterprising and to possess good interpersonal skills

Formal requirements

The position is available for a 4-year period for applicants holding a relevant master´s degree.

The successful applicant will be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD graduate student at the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Immunology, College of Medicine according to the rules stipulated in the guidelines for the Graduate Program at the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

The PhD student is expected to be affiliated to the graduate program in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Immunology.

Financial Support:

The candidate will be provided a stipend but will also be expected to apply for internal and external scholarships.

How to Apply

Candidates must submit electronically, one single application document (pdf file) that includes (1) a letter of motivation, (2) a complete curriculum vitae (CV), (3) a copy of graduate transcripts, and (4) contact information for individuals willing to provide references.

The successful applicant will be required to provide the following current verification(s) where ‘Yes’ is indicated below. Further information is available at:

Facility Access Screening including Criminal Record Check: Yes

Driver’s License and Abstract Check: Not Applicable

Education/Credential Verification: Yes

Vulnerable Sector Check: Not Applicable

Review of applications will begin immediately; however, applications will be accepted and evaluated until the position is filled. We thank all applicants for their interest; only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

For more information visit:

To Apply now Visit: VIDO Job Board – PhD graduate student- mRNA Vaccines (