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Effects of low levels of CO on cellular function and development

   Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre

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  Dr M Herigstad, Dr P Stafford, Prof Marysia Placzek  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

We are looking for a PhD candidate to work on an exciting project to study the effect on a toxic gas, carbon monoxide, on living organisms. Most people are exposed to carbon monoxide every day through air pollution. Such low levels of carbon monoxide have been linked to cardiovascular disease in adults and heart disease in babies, but we currently know very little about how it affects biological systems. Understanding how carbon monoxide links to disease is important.

To investigate this, you will study the effects that very low levels of carbon monoxide, such as we find in air pollution, have on three different biological levels: cells, tissues and organisms. You will test how carbon monoxide changes heart development in a chick model of human development (organism level). You will also use chick embryo cells and human cells/tissues to determine changes in cellular pathways and tissue development.

This is an excellent opportunity to learn how to use a range of experimental techniques and receive training in data analysis and state-of-the-art laboratory methods. Techniques used will include the use of a chick embryo model, the development of 3D models, the use of a custom-made carbon monoxide exposure chamber to allow the exposure of human cells/tissues and model organisms to an atmosphere with added carbon monoxide. The use of this chamber in a chick model organism is described here (1). Training will be provided in relevant techniques.

Together, these experiments will allow us to understand in more detail and depth what carbon monoxide does to our health. The project is expected to produce high-quality data suitable for publication in leading journals in the field. The PhD candidate will also have the opportunity to present their findings at national and international conferences.

This multidisciplinary PhD project will be based in the state-of-the-art laboratory facilities in the Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University and will involve collaborative work with colleagues at the University of Sheffield. The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr Mari Herigstad (BMRC) and co-supervised by Dr Prachi Stafford (BMRC) and Prof Marysia Placzek (University of Sheffield) and will work in a vibrant research group together with experienced staff, PhD students, Postdocs and technicians.

We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate. You should have good communication, organisational and interpersonal skills, and have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent in a life science-related field. A Master’s degree in a suitable discipline or relevant laboratory experience would be an advantage.


Information on entry requirements can be found on our GTA program page

How to apply

We strongly recommend you contact the lead academic, Dr Mari Herigstad ([Email Address Removed]), to discuss your application.

Please visit our GTA program page for more information on the Graduate teaching assistant program and how to apply. Any questions on the graduate teaching assistant programme requirements can be addressed to the postgraduate research tutor for this area which is Dr Susan Campbell ([Email Address Removed]).

Start date for studentship: October 2022

Interviews are scheduled for: Late June – Early July 2022

For information on how to apply please visit our GTA program page

Your application should be emailed to [Email Address Removed] by the closing date of 31st May 2022.

Funding Notes

Please see GTA program page for funding information.


Matias, Groves & Herigstad. Impact of carbon monoxide on early cardiac development in an avian model. Biorxiv, doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.12.22.473783
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