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Dynamic cell and tissue responses to damage: understanding tissue repair and inflammation

   School of Biochemistry

About the Project

Our lab is interested in the fundamental mechanisms used by cells and tissues to recover from damage. The ability to rapidly repair after injury is a key feature of many tissues, including the skin. This robust regenerative capacity is crucial since our bodies are frequently exposed to harmful insults, both from external sources (e.g. surgery, infection or pollution) as well as from internal processes (such as physiology or metabolism).

Tissue damage normally triggers an inflammatory response, as innate immune cells (e.g. neutrophils) leave the circulation and migrate along complex routes in order to fight infection and orchestrate repair. A better understanding of these processes has huge clinical potential, not only to improve post-operative healing, but also to treat those individuals suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases (e.g. autoimmune conditions) or debilitating non-healing wounds.

In this PhD project, we will use state-of-the-art in vivo imaging, genome engineering, deep learning, and multi-omics (including single cell RNA-seq and proteomics) to explore the molecular and cellular mechanisms underpinning tissue repair and inflammation. We will follow these highly dynamic processes live at the subcellular level using state-of-the-art microscopy and use advanced genetic manipulation and omics to dissect the underlying molecular mechanisms. Projects are available to study (1) how damaged cells (and sub-cellular components) recover rapidly following injury (2) how leukocytes squeeze out across blood vessel walls and migrate towards inflamed tissues.

Our ultimate goal is to identify potential therapeutic targets for accelerating tissue repair and modulating inflammation in the clinic. We therefore take an inter-disciplinary approach that integrates in vivo lab studies with cutting-edge human genetic epidemiology.

See the Weavers lab website for more details: http://www.tissueresilience.com

Funding Notes

This project is available to international students who wish to self-fund their PhD or who have access to their own funding. Please contact Dr Helen Weavers directly for information about the project and how to apply: .


1. Weavers H and Martin P. The cell biology of inflammation: From common traits to remarkable immunological adaptations J Cell Biol (2020) 219 (7): e202004003
2. Weavers H, Wood W and Martin P. Injury activates a dynamic cytoprotective network to confer stress resilience and drive repair. Current Biology (2019) 29: 3851-3862. Featured on the Cover & recommended by Faculty 1000.
3. Thuma L, Carter D, Weavers H* and Martin P*. Drosophila immune cells extravasate from vessels to wounds using Tre1 GPCR and Rho signaling. J Cell Biol (2018) 217, 3045–3056. *co-corresponding authors
4. Weavers H, Evans I, Martin P and Wood W. Corpse Engulfment Generates a Molecular Memory that Primes the Macrophage Inflammatory Response. Cell (2016) 165,1658-1671. Recommended by Faculty 1000.

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