This 4 year PhD project is part of a prestigious Science Foundation Ireland FFP program award that will seek to identify the biological mechanisms underlying Von Willebrand disease (VWD)
VWD is the commonest inherited human bleeding disorder. It affects both males and females, with an estimated population prevalence of approximately 1 per 1000 people around the world. People with VWD experience lifelong bleeding. This bleeding can be spontaneous (e.g. nose bleeds, gum bleeding or easy bruising) or can be life-threatening following major surgery or around the time of delivery of a baby. Heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) is common in women with VWD. Unfortunately, this HMB burden is massively under-recognised and consequently continues to be associated with huge global morbidity. For example, HMB in young women with VWD causes missed days from school and work, leads to iron deficiency, and thus has major socio-economic consequences for affected individuals.
Despite its prevalence and enormous clinical significance, the genetic basis underlying VWD remains unknown in approximately 50% of affected families. Recent studies have shown that the VWF gene sequence is entirely normal in these families, meaning that additional as yet unknown genes must also be involved. As a PhD student you will join an established team with more than 5 experienced Post-Doctoral fellows all working in the world-leading RCSI Irish Centre for Vascular biology which is directed by Professor James O’Donnell. This research team has been working on VWD for more than 20 years and has published more than 200 papers on this subject in high-impact journals.
The PhD project will include training on a wide range of state-of-the-art laboratory methodologies spanning molecular biology and cellular biology, and will also provide opportunities to engage with VWD patients attending the National Coagulation Centre in St James’s Hospital, Dublin. Based on the insights derived from the exciting plan of investigation, we aim to improve diagnosis and clinical treatment for patients with VWD both in Ireland and around the world. Our ultimate ambition is to develop novel therapeutic strategies that will be useful in preventing bleeding complications and improving quality of life for individuals with VWD .
Students will have obtained, or be about to obtain, as a minimum an Upper Second Class (2.1) honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject and should provide a grade point average (GPA) for each completed year of undergraduate degree.
English requirements: IETLS >6.5 or must have completed primary degree through the medium of English.
Previous experience in molecular or cellular biology would be useful but is not essential as full training will be provided. As a PhD student you will be joining an established research team which has already optimised all of the experimental techniques required to deliver the planned research and will be taught all of the necessary techniques by experienced Post-doctoral fellows working in the Irish Centre for Vascular Biology.
Applications must include:
(i) a completed application form
(ii) English language requirements – see https://www.rcsi.com/dublin/postgraduate/policies-and-guidelines/english-language-requirements.