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A correlative bioimaging, force and multiomics platform for skin cell mechanosensing: identification of new responsive proteins and the effects of aging.


   Department of Biosciences

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  Dr T Hawkins, Dr A Benham  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The programme is a novel interdisciplinary mechanobiology research project, including training on world-class bioimaging instruments, where the student will learn further in-demand skills in experimental and computational transcriptomics and proteomics. Mechanobiology is an emerging research field that relates external mechanical forces and extracellular matrix stiffness to the regulation of cell behaviour, from single cell migration to the biology of tissue development and disease.

The student will learn biomechanics skills using a unique on microscope cell-stretching platform that we have developed, as well as state of the art bioimaging technologies, including super resolution microscopy and bespoke analytical tools, to define cytoskeletal, junctional and ECM responses to mechanical stress in young and ageing skin cells. We will generate proteomic and transcriptomic data sets to correlate morphological and molecular changes in these cells.

The student will benefit from a strong complementary set of expertise from the supervisor and co-supervisors and will receive training in advanced imaging techniques, image analysis, advanced cell and molecular biology, cell culture methods and the latest proteomic and transcriptomic technologies. The project stems from a collaboration between cell biologists at Durham University and scientists at P&G, working together to deliver novel discoveries in the Biosciences. The successful student will be embedded within an established team at the interface of academia and industry. The team works on related topics of organelle and cytoskeletal dynamics, bioimaging methodology development, and skin protein quality control. Our international industrial partner P&G will provide training during a placement at the P&G central labs in Mason, OH, USA.

How to apply:

  • Candidates wishing to apply for a studentship must apply directly to this E-mail address [Email Address Removed] by 5th Dec 2022 by sending 4 documents:
  1. Current CV: [maximum 2 pages] – this needs to include qualifications & two references.
  2. A personal statement (maximum 500 words).
  3. A completed BISCOP CTP Equal Opportunities Monitoring form
  4. A cover note indicating which project within the CTP you are applying for as their first choice and whether interested in any of the other projects.
  • Name all the documents with your ‘Name and Type of Form’ e.g., Joe Bloggs CV, Joe Bloggs Personal Statement.
  • For more information, please see the Policies & Procedures for applicants.
  • In the meantime, if you have any issues or questions, please contact [Email Address Removed]

More information about the BiSCoP CTP

This studentship is part of the second cohort of the BiSCoP CTP (Bioscience for Sustainable Consumer Products Collaborative Training Partnership), a BBSRC-funded inclusive, collaborative environment for high quality doctoral training that will prepare over 30 students with the knowledge and skills needed for successful careers at the forefront of global bioscience. This will help ensure the UK maintains a leadership position in bioscience with improved translation of frontier research into economic and societal impact.

The BiSCoP CTP will be an outstanding environment for PhD research between Durham, Northumbria, Newcastle and other UK universities, biotech company Prozomix and consumer products company Procter & Gamble. The second cohort of 11 PhD students starting in October 2023 will embark upon a 4-year research training programme with modules in hands-on lean innovation, an Accredited Certificate in Strategic Management and Leadership Practice (a Durham University mini-MBA), Intellectual Property, at least a 3-month placement (P&G UK or USA innovation centre or Prozomix UK) and other events.

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