Funding: Funded PhD Project (UK and EU students only)

Project code: PHBM4711020

Department: School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Start dates: October 2020

Closing date: 23 February 2020

Applications are invited for a fully-funded 3-year PhD to commence in October 2020.

The Project

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Science and Health, and will be supervised by Dr Susanne Dietrich, Dr Anthony Lewis and Dr Aikaterini Lalatsa who will combine their expertise in heart development, heart beat control and cell-supporting biomaterials.

The bursary is available to UK and EU students only and covers tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant of £15,009 (UKRI 2019/20 rate) for three years. Bursary recipients will also receive up to £1,500 per year for research project costs, as well as office space and computing facilities.

Current efforts aim to develop therapeutic cells that can replace the lost cells and restore heart function. This however has not been achieved because exogenously generated cells fail to integrate into the framework of the existing heart and to beat in tune, causing potentially fatal arrhythmias.

In the embryo, a cell population exists that is recruited and integrated into the primitive, already beating heart. How the integration of these so-called secondary heart field cells is facilitated is not known.

This project will use the chicken embryo in the egg as an in-vivo but non-animal test system for cell recruitment and cell integration into the heart. The project will first investigate, how cell recruitment and integration works. Thereafter, the project will establish whether tissue-culture-grown, potential therapeutic human cells can integrate into the primitive heart in the same fashion as the normal embryonic cells.

The work on this project involves making novel discoveries underpinning therapy development by unravelling:-

  • How cells are recruited and integrated into a beating heart,
  • How cells are instructed to follow a pre-existing heart beat;
  • Testing novel bio-materials – can bio-materials support cell delivery to the heart?
  • Learning / applying a wide range of laboratory techniques including cell and embryo culture, techniques to monitor gene/ protein expression profiles, various microscopical techniques and bio-materials preparation.

Entry requirements

General admissions criteria

You’ll need an upper second class honours degree from an internationally recognised university or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific candidate requirements

Experience in cell/ developmental biology is desirable.

Find out more about the project, the Supervisors and how to apply

Funding Information

Funding applies to:

Funded PhD Project (UK and EU students only)

Application Deadline:

23 February 2020

Please see our website for how to apply:
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