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British Skin Foundation Studentship: Dissecting palmoplantar skin/keratinocytes as a model of stress – a role for AQP5

Project Description

A 3 year PhD Studentship funded by the British Skin Foundation to investigate the role of AQP5 in skin barrier function is available at the Blizard Institute, within Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London.

The ability of the skin to endure and respond to a number of environmental stressors is fundamental to life and pathologies affecting the epidermal barrier collectively form a significant disease burden. The ridged palmoplantar skin found on the palms and soles is uniquely adapted to withstand increased levels of mechanical stress and displays features associated with stressed skin conditions, such as psoriasis. However, very little is understood regarding the molecular mechanisms involved in conferring barrier function in this specialized tissue. The water-channel protein AQP5 is preferentially expressed in palmoplantar skin and also observed in psoriatic lesions, indicating a, currently unknown, specific role for AQP5 in stressed/hyperproliferative skin. Furthering our understanding of the function of AQP5 in keratinocytes will not only aid our understanding of the specialised palmoplantar epidermis, but also provide insight into hyperproliferative skin conditions in general.

The aims of the project are to identify novel-interacting partners of AQP5 in keratinocytes, validate these in keratinocytes and skin from stressed/hyperproliferative skin conditions, such as psoriasis, and explore the role of AQP5 in keratinocyte biology and epidermal barrier function by knockdown and/or over-expression of AQP5 in keratinocytes.

We are looking for a highly self-motivated and enthusiastic candidate who will be able to work independently, as well as part of a team. During the course of their PhD, the student will gain expertise in: keratinocyte cell culture, including generation of 3D models; western blotting; immunofluorescent staining and microscopy and will have opportunities to present their work at national and international meetings.

The Blizard Institute is an outstanding research environment with excellent core facilities, including microscopy, and Barts and The London School of Medicine was ranked 7th in the UK for research in Clinical Medicine in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

Interviews are expected to be held in April.

Funding Notes

Applications are invited from candidates with, or expecting to be awarded, a first class or upper second class honours degree in a relevant area. A Master’s degree or relevant work experience would be highly advantageous. Experience in cell and molecular biology is desirable. Applicants should be proficient in both spoken and written English.

The studentship is funded for 3 years and covers UK/EU tuition fees and a stipend of £16,777 per annum.

How good is research at Queen Mary University of London in Clinical Medicine?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 144.11

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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