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Determining the molecular basis of angiogenesis: investigating how these novel proteins function at the molecular, cellular and organismal level

  • Full or part time
    Dr V Heath
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Our research group focuses on investigating the molecular basis of angiogenesis and have recently identified novel cell surface proteins involved in this process. Angiogenesis is the formation of blood vessels from pre-existing vessels. Not only is this is an essential developmental process, but it plays a critical function in the pathogenesis of diseases such as cancer and diabetic retinopathy. Understanding how angiogenesis is regulated is key in developing new strategies to treat these diseases by inhibiting blood vessel formation

The goal of the studentship would be to determine how these novel proteins function at the molecular, cellular and organismal level. This project would give the student experience in a wide range of techniques including plasmid construction, site directed mutagenesis, protein expression, siRNA knockdown and lentiviral transduction of primary cells. The student would learn standard techniques such as western blotting, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence and the use of confocal microscopy. The project would involve culture of endothelial cells and a variety of migration, sprouting and in vitro assays which model angiogenesis. The project would aim to use knockout mice to determine the in vivo function of these proteins in both tumour models and other models of angiogenesis.

This project offers students an opportunity to work in a stimulating environment, in a research institute with excellent facilities and resources for undertaking a wide variety of biomedical research. This opportunity for a studentship is available for exceptional candidates with an interests in cell and molecular biology, vascular biology and cancer biology

For more information about the Victoria Heath’s research group and the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences please see :
To find out more about studying for a PhD at the University of Birmingham, including full details of the research undertaken in each school, the funding opportunities for each subject, and guidance on making your application, you can now order your copy of the new Doctoral Research Prospectus, at:

At present, we would only consider applications from prospective students with:
- a good biomedical degree, with interests in any of the areas outlined above,
- good command of the English language as outlined in the postgraduate prospectus,
- a source of funding to cover tuition fees and bench fees

Funding Notes

All applicants should indicate in their applications how they intend to fund their studies. We have a thriving community of international PhD students and encourage applications from students of any nationality able to fund their own studies (Government scholarship), or who wish to apply for their own funding (e.g. Islamic Development Bank International PhD Scholarships, China Scholarship Council, Commonwealth Studentships etc).


RhoJ interacts with the GIT-PIX complex and regulates focal adhesion disassembly.
Wilson E, Leszczynska K, Poulter NS, Edelmann F, Salisbury VA, Noy PJ, Bacon A, Rappoport JZ, Heath JK, Bicknell R, Heath VL.

J Cell Sci. 2014 Jul 15;127(Pt 14):3039-51
Kaur S, Leszczynska K, Abraham S, Scarcia M, Hiltbrunner S, Marshall CJ, Mavria G, Bicknell R, Heath VL. RhoJ/TCL regulates endothelial motility and tube formation and modulates actomyosin contractility and focal adhesion numbers. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2011 Mar;31(3):657-64

Heath VL, Bicknell R. Anticancer strategies involving the vasculature. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2009 Jul;6(7):395-404

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