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

Project code: PHBM4721020

Department: School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Start dates: October 2020

Closing date: 23 February 2020

The Project

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

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Science and Health, and will be supervised by Dr Sarah Fouch, Professor Darek Gorecki and Dr Kristina Wanyonyi.

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.

This project brings together expertise within Microbiology, Dentistry and Biochemistry to contribute and enhance understanding of Periodontitis, a disease affecting 45% of the population (1) that has a significant health impact. Periodontitis causes the destruction of periodontal connective tissue, bone and ultimately tooth loss but also increases the risk of several systemic conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.

Periodontitis is a pathology cause by a hyperimmune response against bacteria in the oral cavity. Aimed primarily at pathogen elimination, the host defence includes activation of acquired and innate immunity triggered by extracellular ATP (eATP) released from damaged cells acting on the P2X7 ATP receptor (purinoceptor) (2,3). However, P2X7 activation can result in both positive and negative clinical outcomes depending on a range of factors (4).

The current project aims to use molecular, biochemical and classical culture methods to identify and determine P2X7/bacterial interactions to ascertain the role of such interplay in differing stages of periodontal disease and identify whether modulation of P2X7 receptors can alter the disease progression.

The work on this project will involve:

  • Working with clinical samples, from varying geographical locations, to contribute and enhance understanding of the bacterial species and expression levels of P2X7 associated with the initial and chronic phases of periodontitis.
  • Investigating the bacterial/P2X7 interactions to identify their importance in periodontitis.
  • Evaluating potential treatment targets for both the initial and chronic phases of periodontitis.

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

We are seeking a talented student with a strong background in either Microbiology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology or a related area.

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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