Atrial fibrillation is a medical condition that causes the heart’s upper chambers (atria) to beat irregularly and often at an abnormally fast rate. It is the most common atrial rhythm disorder and is known to increase the risk of stroke, heart failure and all-cause mortality. Thyroid dysfunction is a well-recognised contributor to atrial fibrillation; however, it is not clear why this is the case. The risk of developing atrial fibrillation is closely associated with thyroid function. Higher levels of circulating thyroid hormones, even within the normal range, have been shown to increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation.
We have an ongoing programme of research at the Liverpool Centre of Cardiovascular Science involving cohorts of post-cardiac surgery and post-stroke patients. An opportunity has arisen for a PhD project investigating the relationship between thyroid hormone levels and incidence of atrial fibrillation in these cohorts. The PhD project will explore the hypothesis that thyroid dysfunction in the human alters cardiac thyroid hormone availability causing remodelling of the atrial myocardium and increasing the risk of developing atrial fibrillation. The project will involve laboratory assessment of blood from post-cardiac surgery and post-stroke patients as well as atrial tissue from the post-cardiac surgery cohort. The project objectives are: (1) to assess whether blood levels of thyroid hormones correlate with the incidence of atrial fibrillation in the two cohorts; (2) electrophysiological evaluation of atrial tissue biopsies in the laboratory to determine their propensity to developing atrial fibrillation; (3) quantitative assessment of atrial gene and protein expression using cutting edge -omics approaches. The PhD project is expected to identify key cellular and molecular markers of atrial fibrillation in patients with thyroid dysfunction.
We are looking for a highly motivated student who is willing to pursue cutting edge research within a vibrant and collegiate team. The PhD candidate will be based in the Department of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine, University of Liverpool and would be expected to work collaboratively with clinical colleagues at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital. The position would suit candidates with a background in cardiovascular/endocrine science. Candidates with good communication skills and experience in one or more of the laboratory methods: electrophysiology, biochemistry and/or molecular biology are encouraged to apply. Training in laboratory techniques would be provided where necessary. A BSc/MSc/MRes in biology/biomedical sciences, physiology, pharmacology, endocrinology, or a health-related subject would be essential.
Furthermore, all postgraduate students undertake the Post Graduate Researcher (PGR) Development Programme which aims to enhance their skills for a successful research experience and career. They are required to maintain an online record of their progress and record their personal and professional development throughout their research degree. The Liverpool Centre for Cardiovascular Science holds monthly research group meetings where students are given opportunities to present their research.
The Institute of Life Course and Medical Science is fully committed to promoting gender equality in all activities. In recruitment we emphasize the supportive nature of the working environment and the flexible family support that the University provides. The Institute holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of on-going commitment to ensuring that the Athena SWAN principles are embedded in its activities and strategic initiatives.
Research project related enquiries should be made in the first instance to Dr Sunil Jit Logantha ([Email Address Removed]). All general enquiries should be directed to Mrs Eleanor Toole ([Email Address Removed])
To apply please send your CV and a covering letter to Dr Sunil Jit Logantha ([Email Address Removed])