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Effect of e-cigarette vapour on macrophage function and pulmonary cellular injury and inflammation

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Shyamsundar
    Dr C O'Kane
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description


E-cigarette is a $2.2 billion industry with poor evidence on safety. Despite this, UK Department of Health has suggested EC as a harm minimization strategy. While there is well published studies on the effects of conventional cigarette smoke on pulmonary cellular injury and inflammation, there is a lack of similar studies on e-cigarette vapour. Cigarette smoking is also shown to be associated with increased lung barrier permeability and an increased risk of developing acute respiratory distress syndrome.

This project will add to the current understanding of the effects of e-cigarette vapour in the lung. In the proposed in vitro experiments we will look at the effects of e-cigarette vapour on different cellular population and their function. Epithelial cells have various functions in the lungs including barrier function to prevent influx of fluid into the alveoli. We will study the effects of e-cigarette vapour on cell survival, barrier function and activation of epithelial cells. We will also investigate if e-cigarette vapour induces neutrophil activation and chemotaxis as a marker of airway inflammation. Finally, we will investigate the lung defence capacity to fight bacterial infection by studying the effects of e-cigarette vapour on the ability of macrophages in clearing bacteria.


Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant biomedical or life sciences subject.

English Language

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.

The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:
• IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;
• TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);
• A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;
• A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or
• A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

The English Language Unit (ELU) offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained from the ELU

Funding Notes


DEL Research Studentships

Eligibility for both fees and maintenance (£14,057 for 2015/16, 2016/17 TBC) depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK resident or those EU residents who have lived permanently in the UK for the 3 years immediately preceding the start of the studentship.

Non UK residents who hold EU residency may also apply but if successful may receive fees only.

For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) please click on the following link:


Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Infection and Immunity, website for further details about the Centre:

When applying, please choose 'MEDICINE' as your subject area/School.

Related Subjects

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