Development of a miniaturised bone organoid culture platform for high throughput pharmacological compound screening to identify bone anabolic compounds.

   Institute of Inflammation and Ageing

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  Dr A Naylor, Prof Liam Grover  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Research link:

Informal enquiries should be sent to the project supervisor Dr Naylor - [Email Address Removed]

Person Specification

Applicants should have a strong background in cell biology. They should have a commitment to translational biomedical research and hold, or realistically expect to obtain, at least an Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a relevant subject. 

Project Details:

Worldwide, populations are aging. The risk of osteoporosis increases with age and currently ~200 million people are affected. Osteoporosis is characterised by bone weakening, resulting in fractures that reduce patients’ quality of life and independence and can be life-threatening. Therapeutic drugs that can increase bone mass are badly needed.

High-throughput screening (HTS) is the proven cornerstone of drug discovery. To identify compounds that translate into effective therapeutic drugs, HTS-assays must be as biologically relevant as possible. We have developed a biologically relevant bone cell-culture system. By combining cutting-edge biology and materials science knowledge from the University of Birmingham (3D bio-printing, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and cell imaging technologies) with a placement at a state-of-the-art HTS robotics facility, you will miniaturise and optimise this system and use it to screen novel compound libraries to search for active molecules that could become the next generation of therapeutics.

This PhD project will provide training in cutting-edge “omics” technologies including metabolomics and proteomics. In addition, you will develop expertise in bioinformatics/coding, materials science, cell biology and high-throughput screening (HTS) robotics automation platforms. The project is part of a doctoral training programme, ensuring broader training and transferable skills are embedded in the PhD experience.

How to apply

Click on the institution website which will redirect you to the MRC AIM website which contains full application information as well as the application forms to completed. Please ensure that you apply before the closing date of midday (GMT) Friday 12 January 2024 as late applications will not be considered.

Biological Sciences (4) Engineering (12) Medicine (26)

Funding Notes

This is a fully funded studentship provided by the Medical Research Council.
If you are successful, you will receive a stipend (currently £18,622 per year for 2023/24) and a tuition fee waiver for 4 years.
Successful candidates will also receive an allowance for a laptop, a travel and conference allowance and an allowance for laboratory/PhD running costs.


1. Iordachescu A., Amin H.D., Rankin S.M., Williams R.L., Yapp C., Bannerman A., Pacureanu A., Addison P.A., Grover L.M. (2017) An in vitro model for the development of mature bone containing an osteocyte network. Advanced Biosystems. 2:1700156
2. Iordachescu A., Hughes E.A.B., Joseph S. Hill E.J., Grover L.M., Metcalfe A.D. (2021) Trabecular bone organoids: a micron-scale ‘humanised’ prototype designed to study the effects of microgravity and degeneration. npj Microgravity. 7: 17.
3. M. Finlay, L.A. Hill, G. Neag, B. Patel, M. Chipara, H.C. Lamont, K. Frost, K. Patrick, J.W. Lewis, T. Nicholson, J. Edwards, S.W. Jones, L.M. Grover, A.J. Naylor. (2023) A detailed methodology for the long-term in vitro culture and analysis of three-dimensional, self-structuring bone models generated from cell lines or primary osteoblastic cell populations. NC3Rs Gateway Journal: F1000. Published: 10.12688/f1000research.130779.1.
4. Hansel C.S., Plant D.L., Holdgate G.A., Collier M.J., Plant H. (2022) Advancing automation in high-throughput screening: Modular unguarded systems enable adaptable drug discovery. Drug Discover Today. 27:2051-56

Where will I study?

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