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Developing RNA therapeutics to target heart attack and stroke

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, May 01, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The build-up of fatty deposits in arteries (called atherosclerosis) can lead to heart attack and stroke. This disease develops at branches and bends of arteries that are exposed to complex blood flow patterns which causes damage to vascular endothelial cells (a vital sheet of cells at the inner surface of arteries). The Evans laboratory recently found that the production of hundreds of RNA molecules is altered in endothelial cells that are exposed to disease-causing patterns of blood flow. However, it is not known which of these RNAs contributes to heart attack or stroke. This A* Star PhD Studentship will identify the RNAs that drive heart attack and stroke pathology by combining expertise in RNA metabolism and therapeutics (Wee Laboratory, Singapore) with cardiovascular biology expertise from Evans (Sheffield, UK). It will provide state-of-the art training in bioinformatics, RNA therapeutics, vascular cell culture, gene silencing, transgenic zebrafish models, CRISPR targeting and other molecular and cell biology expertise.

Selected references from the Evans and Wee groups:

1. Gomez I, Ward B, Souilhol C, Recarti C, Ariaans M, Johnston J, Burnett A, Mahmoud M, Luong LA, West L, Long M, Parry S, Woods R, Hulston C, Benedikter B, Bazaz R, Francis S, Kiss Toth E, van Zandvoort M, Schober A, Hellewell P, Evans PC, Ridger V. Neutrophil microvesicles drive atherosclerosis by delivering miR-155 to atheroprone endothelium. Nat Commun 2020; 11: 214.

2. Souilhol C, Serbanovic-Canic J, Fragiadaki M, Chico TJ, Ridger V, Roddie H, Evans PC. Endothelial responses to shear stress in atherosclerosis: a novel role for developmental genes. Nat Rev Cardiol. 2020 17(1):52-63.

3. Koh, C.M., Bezzi, M., Low, D.H.P., Ang, W.X., Teo, S.X., Gay, F.P.H., Al-Haddawi, M., Tan, S.Y., Osato, M., Sabò, A., Amati, B., Wee, K.B., Guccione, E. MYC regulates the core pre-mRNA splicing machinery as an essential step in lymphomagenesis. Nature (2015) 523, 96–100.

Funding Notes

Fully funded by the A*Star-University of Sheffield Research Attachment PhD Programme

Start date - 1 October 2020

Entry Requirements:
Candidates must have a first or upper second class honors degree or significant research experience.

Enquiries:
Interested candidates should in the first instance contact Professor Paul Evans


How to apply:
Please complete a University Postgraduate Research Application form available here: View Website

Please clearly state the prospective main supervisor in the respective box and select Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease as the department.

References

Salary/stipend rate: For the selected student admitted to the 4-year programme, A*Star will provide the following financial support, whilst the student is in Singapore:
● Living allowance: A monthly stipend of two thousand, five hundred Singapore Dollars (~£1,050) whilst in Singapore.
● A one-off "settling-in allowance" of one thousand Singapore dollars (~£420).
● A one-time airfare allowance of one thousand five hundred Singapore dollars (~£630).
● Consumables and Bench Fees incurred by students when based at A*Star in Singapore.
● Cost of medical insurance while the student is based at A*Star.
Whilst in Sheffield, students receive fees and stipend (at the RCUK rate, 4,407 & £15,285 in 2020/21). In addition, students will be able to claim up to £500 from Sheffield towards the costs of an airfare back to the UK whilst they are in Singapore in order to make a home visit. This will normally be available for students who meet the normal expectations of spending approximately half of the programme in Singapore. This allowance is not available for those NOT spending 50% of the programme time in Singapore.

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