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Circadian clocks in diabetes – implications for diabetic macular oedema

Project Description

This project will characterise circadian arrhythmicity in a model of type 1 diabetes. There is a direct link between metabolism and the transcriptional/post-translational feedback loop of the circadian clock and evidence that circadian arrhythmicity promotes development of diabetes. However, less is known whether diabetes itself drives circadian arrhythmicity. The purpose of this project is to investigate if metabolic abnormalities in type 1 diabetes lead to altered synchronization of circadian rhythms in general and in particular in the retina, leading to progression of diabetic complications. The hypothesis is that diabetes induces a disruption of circadian regulation that accelerates the progression of diabetic retinopathy. The project has 3 aims:

(1) In vivo characterization of circadian rhythms
(2) to test if circadian arrhythmicity affects progression of diabetic retinopathy and
(3) examine the circadian rhythms of monocytes using molecular methods.

During the duration of the project, the PhD candidate will have the opportunity to interact with expert scientists in the field of visual and circadian neurobiology, attend chronobiology training and present their results in meetings. Most importantly, the candidate will belong to the vision group of QUB at WWIEM, a group of basic scientists working closely with clinicians to facilitate clinical translation.


Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant biomedical or life sciences subject.

English Language

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.

The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:
• IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;
• TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);
• A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;
• A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or
• A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

INTO Queen’s English Language Courses offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained at:

Funding Notes

*FUNDING CONFIRMED – Department for the Economy (DfE) Award*

Eligibility for both fees (£4,327 for 2019/20, 2020/21 TBC) and maintenance (£15,009 for 2019/20, 2020/21 TBC) depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK resident or those EU residents who have lived permanently in the UK for the 3 years immediately preceding the start of the studentship.

Non UK residents who hold EU residency may also apply but if successful may receive fees only.

For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) please click on the following link: View Website


Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Experimental Medicine, website for further details about the Centre:

When applying, please choose 'MEDICINE' as your subject area/School.

Related Subjects

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