Microbiology And Immunology: Swansea University Research Excellence Scholarships (SURES): Fully Funded PhD Scholarship: Manipulating Immune Cell Metabolism to Improve the Outcome of Peritonitis (RS634)

  • DeadlineDeadline: 14 June 2024
  • WalesWales


Closing date: 14 June 2024

Funding provider: Swansea University 

Subject areas: Immunology, Metabolism, Cell biology, Kidney Disease

Project start date:

  • 1 July 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-June)


Aligned programme of study: PhD in Microbiology and Immunology

Mode of study: Full-time

Project description

Peritoneal Dialysis (PD), an effective treatment for Chronic Kidney Disease, can result in serious complications, such as immune cell-driven inflammation (peritonitis). The metabolism of immune cells is now known to be crucial for cell phenotype and inflammation. Hence, the manipulation of metabolism is key to both prevent and treat disease. As part of an MRC grant (May 2024-April 2028), we will define the metabolic changes in PD/PD peritonitis, the effect this has on immune cell function, and whether manipulation of cell metabolism can improve PD and resolve peritonitis. While some key research questions are addressed in this project, there remain many unexplored, yet related molecular mechanisms. For example, data from myself and co-investigator (Nick Jones) highlighted differential utilisation of the metabolic pathways for fuelling cytokine production in immune cells, which can be specifically manipulated through alteration of metabolite environments or metabolic programming. 

Aim/Question: How can we alter the metabolism of immune cells to reduce peritoneal inflammation? 

Specific objectives: 

  1. Determine how alternative metabolic fuels (lactate/ß-hydroxybutyrate/inosine) effect immune cell metabolism and function (e.g. using extracellular-flux-analysis, flow-cytometry, ELISA) 
  2. Dissect the role of the malate-aspartate-shuttle vs the TCA-cycle for immune cell functions (e.g. using 13C6-tracing metabolomics and CRISPR)

Outcome: This project will improve knowledge and identify new therapeutic strategies to treat peritonitis.

For more details please see here: https://www.swansea.ac.uk/postgraduate/scholarships/research/microbiology-immunology-su-mrc-phd-manipulating-2023-rs634.php

Entry Requirements

Candidates must have attained, or must be expected to attain, a first-class honours degree and/or a distinction at master’s level.  

  • Where applicants have multiple master’s degrees, a distinction must be held in the degree that is most relevant to the intended PhD study.  
  • If you are currently studying for a master’s level qualification with an expected award date that is later than 01/07/2024, you should hold a minimum of an upper-second-class (2:1) honours degree.    
  • You should be able to demonstrate a pass with a minimum grade average of at least 70% for your part-one master’s degree modules (the taught aspect of your master’s course rather than a research-focused dissertation) and submit your dissertation by no later than 30/06/2024.   

If you are eligible to apply for the scholarship but do not hold a UK degree, you can check our comparison entry requirements (see country specific qualifications). Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency. 

Please note that both the degree and language-proficiency entry requirements for SURES are higher than the baseline standard for entry that is stipulated for most of the PhD programmes at Swansea University. 

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to applicants eligible to pay tuition fees at the UK rate only, as defined by UKCISA regulations.

If you have any questions regarding your academic or fee eligibility based on the above, please email pgrscholarships@swansea.ac.uk with the web-link to the scholarship(s) you are interested in. 


This scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees and an annual stipend at £18,622.

Additional research expenses will also be available.

How To Apply

To apply, please complete your application online with the following information:

  1. Course choice – please select Microbiology and Immunology / PhD / Full-time / 3 Year / July

    In the event you have already applied for the above programme previously, the application system may issue a warning notice and prevent application, in this event, please email pgrscholarships@swansea.ac.uk where staff will be happy to assist you in submitting your application.

  2. Start year – please select 2024
  3. Funding (page 8) –
  • ‘Are you funding your studies yourself?’ – please select No
  • ‘Name of Individual or organisation providing funds for study’ – please enter ‘RS634 - Outcome of Peritonitis'

*It is the responsibility of the applicant to list the above information accurately when applying, please note that applications received without the above information listed will not be considered for the scholarship award.

One application is required per individual Swansea University led research scholarship award; applications cannot be considered listing multiple Swansea University led research scholarship awards.

We encourage you to complete the following to support our commitment to providing an environment free of discrimination and celebrating diversity at Swansea University: 

As part of your online application, you MUST upload the following documents (please do not send these via e-mail). We strongly advise you to provide the listed supporting documents by the advertised application closing date. Please note that your application may not be considered without the documents listed:

  • CV
  • Degree certificates and transcripts (if you are currently studying for a degree, screenshots of your grades to date are sufficient)
  • A cover letter including a ‘Supplementary Personal Statement’ to explain why the position particularly matches your skills and experience and how you choose to develop the project.
  • Two references (academic or previous employer) on headed paper or using the Swansea University reference form. Please note that we are not able to accept references received citing private email accounts, e.g. Hotmail. Referees should cite their employment email address for verification of reference.
  • Evidence of meeting English Language requirement (if applicable).
  • Copy of UK resident visa (if applicable)
  • Confirmation of EDI form submission (optional) 

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Dr Luke Davies (l.c.davies@swansea.ac.uk).

*External Partner Application Data Sharing – Please note that as part of the scholarship application selection process, application data sharing may occur with external partners outside of the University, when joint/co- funding of a scholarship project is applicable.

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