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Deciphering metabolic pathways in patient-derived retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) as a novel strategy for therapeutic intervention in age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Project Description

AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the Western world. Approximately 90% of AMD patients have the so-called “dry” form (dry-AMD) which manifests as progressive damage to the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and accumulation of adjacent extracellular deposits. This accompanies degeneration of the photoreceptors in the macular region of the retina where there is greatest visual function. While genetic, dietary, lifestyle and environmental risks have been identified for dry AMD, as yet there is no effective treatment. We will address this challenge though an academic-industry collaboration based on complementary expertise and shared research interests.
The project will use a range molecular cell biology approaches using AMD-patient-derived iPS-RPE and retinal organoids. There will be a particular interest in how AMD alters metabolic plasticity and activation of pathogenic pathways that lead to dry-AMD.

This studentship offers a unique opportunity for a talented and committed student to work within an established academic industrial partnership. The student will have the opportunity to spend significant time with the Belgium-based company (approx. 2-3 visits per year) to enable enable learning of new experimental techniques and provision of a unique experience of working in an EU-based commercial environment that is impossible to gain in an academic group.
This PhD training opportunity will provide a unique set of skills and perspectives that will equip the student with a range of high-value future career options


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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