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Development of a novel bioassay for UVA-induced skin damage

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Project Description

Exposure to environmental ultraviolet radiation (UV) can cause a number of short- and long-term negative effects in human skin, including erythema (burning), skin cancer and ageing. These harmful effects can be mitigated by the application of sunscreens, with the effectiveness of these being expressed in terms of a sun protection factor (SPF) related to the UV dose required for erythema.
Longer wavelength UV (UVA; 315-400 nm) was until recently comparatively neglected in terms of its health impact and it is still the case that many sunscreens do not provide significant protection against this type of radiation. UVA exposure does not result in erythema but is able to cause skin cancer and is also considered to be the major player in UV-induced skin ageing. The standard method for assaying the effectiveness of sunscreens therefore does not adequately evaluate the protection offered against UVA. Moreover, ongoing research in our laboratories and others have shown that the cellular response to UVA is significantly different from the response to shorter wavelength UVB, and that established biomarkers of UV exposure (e.g. p53 activation) may underestimate the damage caused by UVA.
The aim of the project will be to evaluate biomarkers for UVA exposure in a biologically relevant in vitro test system to be developed as part of the project. Work carried out by Dr Allinson and Prof McMillan in collaboration with Boots has identified several potential short- and long-term biomarkers for UVA damage. These will be evaluated for robustness using different skin cell culture models.

Funding Notes

The project is supported by a 4 year BBSRC PhD studentship, covering tuition fees plus living costs allowance of £13,590

NB:- Applicants should have at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent with a biomedical or related focus and fulfil BBSRC eligibility criteria

Please apply by sending a CV and covering letter to Dr Allinson by either email, using the link below, or post (Dr Sarah Allinson, Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YQ)

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