In the middle of applying to universities? | SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE In the middle of applying to universities? | SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE

Dissecting neutrophil heterogeneity and functionality in asthma to identify superior therapeutic strategies.

   National Heart and Lung Institute

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Prof Robert Snelgrove  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited from candidates with a Master’s degree (Merit and above) and undergraduate training in biological sciences for a PhD studentship.

Summary of Research

Neutrophils are critical components of the body's immune response to infection, being loaded with a potent arsenal of toxic mediators and displaying immense destructive capacity. Given the potential of neutrophils to impart extensive tissue damage, it is perhaps not surprising that when augmented these cells are also implicated in the pathology of inflammatory diseases. Prominent neutrophilic inflammation is a hallmark feature of patients with severe asthma, with their numbers frequently associating with worse prognosis. Accordingly, it is anticipated that neutrophils are central to the pathology of severe asthma and represent an attractive therapeutic target. However, strategies that have looked to reduce neutrophilic inflammation in the clinic have proved largely disappointing.

We have classically viewed neutrophils as somewhat crude, terminally differentiated, insular and homogeneous protagonists of pathology. However, it is now clear that this does not do the neutrophil justice, and we now recognize that these cells exhibit heterogeneity, a pronounced awareness of the localized environment and a remarkable capacity to interact with and modulate the behaviour of a multitude of cells, even exhibiting anti-inflammatory, pro-resolving and pro-repair functions. It is feasible, and perhaps probable, that the neutrophil exhibits pleiotropic and potentially conflicting roles in defining pathophysiology of asthma, that may be variable in a context- and patient-specific setting. More precise phenotyping of neutrophils coupled with a more holistic understanding of their role in the asthmatic lung will be instrumental in defining more targeted therapeutic approaches for manipulating neutrophils and their effector functions in patients.

This project will utilise cutting-edge technologies to characterise neutrophil heterogeneity and functionality in patients with asthma and clinically relevant mouse models of disease. Subsequently, the student will use innovative methodologies to holistically evaluate how neutrophils modulate the behaviour of proximal cells to define inflammatory and remodelling pathways in disease. Ultimately, more targeted approaches will be deployed to mitigate specific pathological features of neutrophils.

Applicants should have training in biological sciences and ideally in immunology, with research experience essential. Prior knowledge of respiratory physiology and experience of working with human or mouse samples would all be desirable but not essential.

Imperial College London provides excellent opportunities for research students' training. All students benefit from a full programme of training in research and transferable skills organised through the Graduate School, the quality of which has been recognised several times at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards.

The student will be based in the section of Inflammation, Repair and Development section within the National Heart and Lung Institute, which provides an exciting environment, with state-of-the-art facilities and excellent opportunities for PhD student training including research seminars and journal clubs. This project will be carried out in close collaboration with clinical teams embedded in at the NHLI, and the institute provides extensive collaborative opportunities with other research groups. We expect this studentship to start in the spring of 2023 but can be flexible for the best candidate.’

How to Apply

Applicants must hold, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second-class undergraduate degree or UK equivalent, along with a Masters, both in an appropriate subject from a recognised academic institution. 

To apply please email the following information to Professor Rob Snelgrove at [Email Address Removed]

  • Curriculum Vitae (max 2 pages)
  • Personal statement (1 page)
  • Name, address, telephone number or email of two referees. At least one of which must be academic.

Applicants unable to attend interview in person will undergo an online interview and be invited for a second face-to-face meeting before confirmation of offer.

Please note that candidates must fulfil College admissions criteria.

Committed to equality and valuing diversity. We are also an Athena SWAN Silver Award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and are working in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.

Funding Notes

The studentship will be funded for 3 years with a tax-free bursary of £19,668 p.a. Tuition fees at the Home and Ireland rate will also be paid.
PhD saved successfully
View saved PhDs