Imperial College London Featured PhD Programmes
Imperial College London Featured PhD Programmes
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Early vascular ageing and myelopoiesis – influence of lifestyle factors

   School of Applied Sciences

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  Dr M Ross, Dr G Wright  No more applications being accepted  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Edinburgh United Kingdom Cell Biology Immunology Physiology

About the Project

This project is based within the School of Applied Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University and les led by Dr Mark Ross (, Dr Graham Wright
( and Dr David Muggeridge
( and is investigating early vascular ageing and production of myeloid inflammatory cells in humans.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most common cause of death in western civilisation (World Health Organisation, 2014). Vascular dysfunction precedes the onset and progression of CVD, and thus can be used as an early clinically relevant marker for future CVD risk. In fact, vascular dysfunction may result in the shift from anti-, to pro-inflammation, with circulating immune cells promoting inflammation within our blood vessels, leading to reductions in nitric oxide bioavailability, promoting endothelial cell senescence and apoptosis.
We know that lifestyle factors such as ageing, physical inactivity and obesity are associated with inflammation, and some evidence suggests that these promote the production of inflammatory myeloid cells by the bone marrow. However, studies using lifestyle interventions to counteract this inflammatory myelopoiesis are lacking. The aim of this PhD is to determine influence of age on vascular dysfunction and inflammatory myelopoiesis, and the influence of exercise training and/or diet on reversing or attenuating these negative effects of ageing.
You will be given the opportunity to engage in an active postgraduate research group. You will be provided with extensive training in vascular ultrasound, phlebotomy, flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. You will be given the opportunity to engage with an active postgraduate research community (including the chance to present at national/international conferences) and take part in a full training programme aimed at supporting progression to a successful research career.

Academic qualifications
A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally in sport and exercise science, biomedical sciences, human physiology with a good fundamental knowledge of the human cardiovascular system.

English language requirement
IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.

Essential attributes:
 Experience of fundamental biological laboratory skills
 Competent in statistics
 Knowledge of cardiovascular physiology
 Good written and oral communication skills
 Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project
 Good time management

Desirable attributes:
Prior experience of collecting biological data from human participants

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded position only

Please quote project code SAS0087 in your enquiry and application.
• Completed application form
• CV
• 2 academic references, using the Postgraduate Educational Reference Form (Found on the application process page)
• A personal research statement (This should include (a) a brief description of your relevant experience and skills, (b) an indication of what you would uniquely bring to the project and (c) a statement of how this project fits with your future direction.)
• Evidence of proficiency in English (if appropriate)


Swirski, F. K., & Nahrendorf, M. (2016). Bone Marrow Takes Center Stage in Cardiovascular Disease. Circ Res, 119(6), 701-703.
Saeed, S., Waje-Andreassen, U., Fromm, A., Øygarden, H., Kokorina, M. V., Naess, H., & Gerdts, E. (2014). Early Vascular Aging in Young and Middle-Aged Ischemic Stroke Patients: The Norwegian Stroke in the Young Study. PLOS ONE, 9(11), e112814. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112814
Niemiro, G. M., Allen, J. M., Mailing, L. J., Khan, N. A., Holscher, H. D., Woods, J. A., & De Lisio, M. (2018). Effects of endurance exercise training on inflammatory circulating progenitor cell content in lean and obese adults. The Journal of Physiology, 596(14), 2811-2822. doi:10.1113/jp276023
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