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University of Leeds PhD Projects

We have 60 University of Leeds PhD Projects

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  An integrated approach to the study of cellular interactions with amyloid
  Research Group: Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology
  Dr E W Hewitt, Prof S E Radford
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

The formation of insoluble amyloid fibrils is associated with a spectrum of human disorders, the amyloidoses, which include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, type 2 diabetes and dialysis related amyloidosis (DRA).
  Defining a novel assembly pathway in ssRNA viruses using X-ray footprinting.
  Prof P G Stockley
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

Project co-supervised by Prof. Peter Stockley at Leeds and Prof. Reidun Twarock at University of York, as part of the White Rose network "Structural and Mechanistic Biology at the RNA/Ligand Interface".
  Development and characterisation of synthetic ion channel binding proteins.
  Research Group: School of Biomedical Sciences
  Dr J D Lippiat, Dr D Tomlinson
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

We are developing methods to identify novel proteins, Affimers, that recognise extracellular domains of ion channels. These have applications in various aspects of biology, from tools to visualise the location and distribution of ion channels in native tissue, to novel modulators of ion channel function.
  Development of a treatment for drug-resistant childhood epilepsy caused by potassium channel dysfunction.
  Dr J D Lippiat, Dr S Clapcote, Dr S Muench
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

Gain-of-function mutations in the human gene KCNT1, which encodes the KNa1.1 sodium-activated potassium channel, cause severe childhood epilepsy that cannot be controlled by current medication.
  Dissecting the molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens
  Research Group: Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology
  Dr A O'Neill
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

Antibiotics make possible the treatment and cure of life-threatening bacterial infections. Since their introduction in the middle years of the 20th Century, they have added ~10 years to the human lifespan, and have become a cornerstone of modern medicine.
  Epigenetics and Cancer: Determining how Mistakes in V(D)J Recombination Trigger Leukaemias and Lymphomas
  Research Group: School of Molecular and Cellular Biology
  Dr J Boyes
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

V(D)J recombination is essential to produce an effective adaptive immune system but since the reaction involves the breakage and rejoining of DNA, it is highly dangerous and errors have long been thought to lead to leukaemias and lymphomas.
  Epigenetics and Cancer: Development of Novel Tools to Determine how Aberrant V(D)J Recombination Reactions Cause Leukaemia
  Research Group: School of Molecular and Cellular Biology
  Dr J Boyes
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

V(D)J recombination generates a highly diverse set of immunoglobulin and T cell receptor genes to enable vertebrates to fight a vast range of infections.
  Genomic basis of extra-group paternity in the cooperatively breeding Seychelles warbler
  Dr H L Dugdale
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

Indirect genetic benefits are hypothesised to drive the evolution of extra-group paternity (EGP), yet its genomic basis is unknown.
  Identifying cardiac disease markers using non-lethal ’biopsy’ of cells.
  Research Group: School of Biomedical Sciences
  Dr A.J. Smith
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

This project will build on our recent exciting discovery that a novel chemical tool, the polymer styrene maleic acid (SMA), can ‘biopsy’ human vascular cells, extracting proteins from the membrane without killing the cells.
  Marine ecology and spatial planning for changing coral reef ecosystems
  Research Group: School of Biology
  Dr M Beger
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

This is an open call for international or self-funded students who wish to develop their skill base in marine conservation science.
  Mathematical Virology: A New Mathematical Approach to Viral Evolution Grounded in Experiment
  Research Group: Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology
  Prof P G Stockley
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

Mathematical modelling of natural phenomena has the potential to be predictive but requires direct verification by experiment. Such models can then be very powerful indicators of our understanding and they permit in silico simulations of situations that are difficult to test experimentally.
  Synthetic Virology: Development of gene delivery vectors/synthetic vaccines
  Research Group: Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology
  Prof P G Stockley
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

There is worldwide interest in exploiting our modern understanding of genomics to target gene expression therapeutically via a variety of mechanisms, such as transgene insertion and CRISPR-Cas gene editing.
  Towards new antibacterial drugs to treat infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria: identification and characterization of novel natural product antibiotics
  Research Group: Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology
  Dr A O'Neill
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared antimicrobial drug resistance one of the greatest problems currently facing human health, and the situation is especially grave in the case of infections caused by bacterial pathogens.
  Characterisation of a pre-osteoblast subset of human mesenchymal stem cells: implications for novel osteoarthritis and osteoporosis treatment development
  Dr E Jones, Prof D McGonagle
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

Osteoarthritis (OA) and osteoporosis (OP) are the most common age-related skeletal diseases. They seriously affect patient’s quality of life and represent a significant healthcare burden to the UK society.
  Developing pluripotent stem cell models of inherited retinal diseases
  Prof C A Johnson
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

Background. Inherited retinal dystrophies are a leading cause of blindness and visual loss in the UK working age population. However, despite the widespread diagnostic use of next-generation sequencing, a molecular genetic diagnosis is unavailable for many patients world-wide.
  Digital health technology and patient safety
  Dr J Benn, Dr O Johnson
Application Deadline: 25 September 2019

Funding Type

PhD Type

This is an exciting opportunity to undertake a PhD within the Yorkshire and Humber Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (Yorkshire and Humber PSTRC), a partnership between the University of Leeds and Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
  Enhancing Oncolytic Virus-induced Immunotherapy using Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
  Dr F Errington-Mais, Dr MA Volpato
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) having the worst prognosis, highest death rate and lowest overall survival.
  Epigenetic therapy using ultrasound-mediated microbubble drug delivery for cancer treatment
  Dr E Valleley, Dr L Coletta
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

The project is an interdisciplinary, pre-clinical study that aims to investigate the response of human tumour cells to treatment with epigenetic inhibitors (such as DNA methyltransferase inhibitors), as a potential combination therapy for colorectal cancer (CRC).
  Exploring the mitotic functions of ASPM in human brain size regulation
  Dr J Bond, Dr E E Morrison, Prof M Peckham
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

The increase in relative brain size is one of the most striking events in human evolution. To determine how human brain size is normally regulated we have investigated the cause of autosomal recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH), a congenital disorder of reduced brain size and associated mental retardation.
  Gastroesophageal reflux in respiratory disease: pathogenic role and improved management
  Prof L Houghton
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is associated with many lung diseases, including but not limited to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), non-IPF interstitial lung disease (ILD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis (CF), non-CF bronchiectasis, asthma and idiopathic chronic cough.
  Genetic studies of corneal endothelial dystrophies and development of alternative treatment options
  Dr M Ali
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

The cornea is the protective front part of the eye that provides most of the eyes focusing power. The endothelium is a single-cell layer on the inside of the cornea that maintains fluid balance and is required for corneal transparency.
  Genome and transcriptome sequencing and functional analysis to find new mutation types in patients with inherited blindness
  Prof C Inglehearn
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

Human inherited retinal dystrophies (IRDs) result from mutations in over 200 different genes, many of them first implicated by the Leeds Vision Research Group (eg Panagiotou E et al 2017, AJHG 100:960-968; El-Asrag M et al 2015, 96:948-54).
  How human teeth form and how that process fails in the inherited condition amelogenesis imperfecta
  Prof C Inglehearn
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

Amelogenesis is the process of enamel formation and is essential for the development of functional teeth. Amelogenesis imperfecta (AI) is a failure of that process.
  Identification and functional characterisation of BRIT1/MCPH1 synthetic lethal genes to treat breast and ovarian cancer
  Dr S Bell, Prof C A Johnson
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

Women who have undergone surgery for breast and ovarian cancer often have additional chemotherapy to kill residual cancer cells and prevent recurrence.
  Metabolic reprogramming in cancer: starving tumors of essential nutrients to promote cell death
  Dr S Papa
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

All the cells in our bodies are programmed to die. As they get older, our cells accumulate toxic molecules that make them sick. In response, they eventually break down and die, clearing the way for new, healthy cells to grow.
  Novel regulators of +TIP localisation and function
  Dr E E Morrison, Dr S Bell, Dr J Bond
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

Microtubules (MTs) are a key cytoskeletal network in all eukaryotic cells. MTs grow and shrink primarily through the addition or loss of tubulin heterodimers from their plus end.
  Regulation of Human Cardiac Fibroblast Function by Specific microRNAs
  Dr N Turner, Prof K.A. Forbes
Application Deadline: 20 September 2019

Funding Type

PhD Type

Heart tissue comprises several different cell types with the majority being either muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) or cells that produce the structural scaffold of the heart (cardiac fibroblasts).
  The functional characterization of the tumour suppressor gene CSMD1 in breast cancer
  Dr S Bell
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

CUB and Sushi multiple domains protein 1 (CSMD1) maps to 8p23, a region deleted in many cancers including breast cancer. Our previous work has established that CSMD1 is an independent prognostic marker in ductal breast cancer, with reduced expression associated with high tumour grade and poor survival1.
  Using massively-paralleled sequencing to find the cause of inherited conditions that affect the front of the eye
  Dr M Ali, Prof C Inglehearn
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

Eye diseases are a common cause of human disability and many of them are inherited. These include congenital as well as adult-onset conditions and diseases of ageing, and may involve abnormalities at the back of the eye or the anterior eye structures.
  Using next-generation sequencing and CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to investigate penetrance and phenotypic variation in inherited eye disease
  Dr C Toomes
Applications accepted all year round

Funding Type

PhD Type

Human inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) result from mutations in over 250 different genes, many of them implicated by the Leeds Vision Research Group (eg Panagiotou et al 2017, AJHG 100:960-968; El-Asrag et al 2015, 96:948-54).
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