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Association of oral streptococci with vascular inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk

   School of Medicine, Dentistry & Biomedical Sciences

  Dr I El Karim  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Bacteria are the primary cause of infectious diseases; however, emerging evidence suggests that these organisms are also indirectly responsible for several non-infectious conditions including cardiovascular diseases. A strong body of evidence from epidemiological studies demonstrated a link between oral viridans group streptococci and cardiovascular diseases. These bacteria are shown to be associated with infective endocarditis, they are frequently detected in human atheromatous plaques and can invade vascular endothelium, but the mechanisms by which they contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease are not known. We hypothesis that oral streptococci possess the potential to cause inflammation involving endothelial cells and thereby contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.

The aim of this MSc project is to investigate the effects of streptococci infection on coronary endothelial cell inflammatory responses and barrier function. 

The project will employ various laboratory techniques using in vivo and in vitro models. The successful student will have the opportunity to learn a range of skills including RT-PCR, ELISA assays, western blotting, confocal microscopy and cell-based functional assays. The project capitalises on the expertise of the supervisors in dentistry and cardiovascular research and is expected to generate new insights into how oral health affects the cardiovascular system.

Start Date: October 2022

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