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Developing novel stem cell approaches towards next-generation regenerative therapies

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, April 10, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

We seek an enthusiastic PhD student with combined interests in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine to undertake an exciting project aimed at taking recent advances in the field of stem cells to the development of novel and effective tissue regeneration approaches.

The use of cell-based tissue regeneration is now commonplace in both animal and human medicine. Such approaches commonly involve use of Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for musculoskeletal repair. A serious limitation is that these cells need to be collected, often using invasive procedures, from suitable donor individuals, and expanded for several days in culture before being transplanted to the same (autologous) or other (allogeneic) patients. This approach both limits clinical efficacy and increases treatment costs. In that regard, the generation of ready-to-use (off-the-shelf) cell preparations would be a significant advance towards novel tissue regeneration treatments with increased efficacy and reduced cost.

Using the horse as a clinically-relevant model, this project will use the latest advances in the fields of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and genetic engineering to generate and characterise novel, stable stem cell lines and test their ability to robustly promote musculoskeletal tissue regeneration as ‘off-the-shelf preparations’ in a clinical setting.

The 4-year project will be undertaken at the world-renowned Roslin Institute, a centre of reference in the UK and internationally, where the main supervisor, Dr. Donadeu, and his team have pioneered the study and application of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and native MSCs from companion animals (1, 2). The project will be part of a larger international collaboration to develop novel, more effective tissue regenerative therapies in companion species, and will take place in the context of a new and exciting collaboration between Roslin Institute and iC-biosolutions Ltd.

The student will acquire a solid knowledge of stem cells and their therapeutic applications, and will become proficient in a variety of laboratory techniques including stem cell isolation, cell reprogramming, genetic modification, and culture, manipulation and differentiation of iPSCs and MSCs. In addition, he/she will become acquainted in a wide range of gene and protein analyses approaches at both population and single cell level including, but not limited to, immunochemistry, western blotting, Flow cytometry, RT-PCR and RNA sequencing. In addition, the student will be expected to participate in regular interactions with industry and academic partners, and will have the opportunity to acquire an understanding of industry including project management, business strategy and finance.

Funding Notes


All candidates should have or expect to have a minimum of an appropriate upper 2nd class degree or equivalent, and be resident in the UK or an EU member state. Previous experience working with iPSCs or MSCs would be preferable.


A statement of support along your curriculum vitae should be sent to our PGR student team at


1. Sharma R, Livesey MR, Wyllie DJ, Proudfoot C, Whitelaw CB, Hay DC, Donadeu FX. Generation of functional neurons from feeder-free, keratinocyte-derived equine induced pluripotent stem cells. Stem Cells and Development. 2014; 23(13):1524-1534
2. Esteves CL, Sheldrake TA, Mesquita SP, Pesántez JJ, Menghini T, Dawson L, Peault B, Donadeu FX. Isolation and characterization of equine native MSC subpopulations. Journal of Stem Cell Research and Therapy 2017;8(1):80. doi: 10.1186/s13287-017-0525-2

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