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Developing a therapy for hearing loss using human pluripotent stem cells

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

Project Description

The vast majority of cases of deafness are produced by the irreversible loss of the sensory hair cells and their associated neurons. Regenerative medicine and the use of stem cells to produce the necessary cell types offer hopes for the treatment of a condition that until now remains without a cure. We have developed methods to generate otic progenitors from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), and shown that, when transplanted into an animal model, they engraft and integrate functionally.

The project will aim to develop further this technology to allow their translation into the clinic. Some of the topics to explore include the molecular characterization of the progenitors, the identification of suitable markers and to study their incorporation into the host. The project contemplates the use of cell and molecular techniques such as RNASeq analysis, flow cytometry, immunoflourescent microscopy and the culture and manipulation of human pluripotent stem cells. It may also involve the use of tests of auditory function in animal models and the application of surgical techniques for cell delivery.

Science Graduate School
As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you’ll be part of the Science Graduate School. You’ll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You’ll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience the breadth of technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit to learn more.

Funding Notes

Entry Requirements
First class or upper second 2(i) in a relevant subject. To formally apply for a PhD, you must complete the University's application form using the following link: View Website

*All applicants should ensure that both references are uploaded onto their application as a decision will be unable to be made without this information*.


Chen, W; Jongkamonwiwat, N; Abbas, L; Jacob Eshtan, S; Johnson, SL; Kuhn, S; Milo, M; Thurlow, JK; Andrews, PW; Marcotti, W; Moore, HD and Rivolta, MN. Restoration of auditory evoked responses by human ES cells-derived otic progenitors. Nature, 490:278-282, 2012.

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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