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Development of a Non-immunogenic Pericardium Percutaneous Heart Valve (SKUF2019)

Project Description

This project will develop a percutaneous heart valve (PHV), comprising non-immunogenic (xenoantigen-free) decellularised porcine or bovine pericardium and a novel stent. Valve disease (VD) is one of the most prevalent forms of heart disease, with valve stenosis and regurgitation representing the most common condition, requiring surgical replacement or repair. However, a third of VD patients cannot receive surgical treatment due to old age and/or multiple comorbidities. PHV replacement by minimally invasive techniques represents the preferable option for these patients.

Current PHV designs are manufactured with chemically-treated xenogeneic pericardium. This treatment stabilizes the tissue and prevents graft rejection, but makes the tissue stiffer and still expressing antigens and cellular debris that promote calcification and progressive degeneration of the prosthesis. The project will develop a clinically-relevant technology that will dramatically benefit VD patients.

The project offers an excellent opportunity for developing highly interdisciplinary skills at the engineering-life sciences interface, while working in the Centre for Biological Engineering, greatly enhancing the prospects for a future career in academia or the medical devices industrial sector.

Start date: 1 July, 1 October, 1 January, 1 April.

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in biological sciences or biotechnology or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: molecular and cell biology, biotechnology, biomedical engineering, immunology, nanotechnology.

How to apply:

All applications are made online, please select the school/department name under the programme name section and include the quote reference number.

Funding Notes

This is an open call for candidates who are sponsored or who have their own funding. If you do not have funding, you may still apply, however Institutional funding is not guaranteed. Outstanding candidates (UK/EU/International) without funding will be considered for funding opportunities which may become available in the School.

Band RA (UK/EU: TBC; international: £17,200).

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