A large proportion of heart failure patients die from cardiac sudden death (SCD), a direct result of lethal ventricular arrhythmias, which is the principal cause of mortality from heart disease worldwide and remains a major unresolved public health problem. In addition, the incidence of SDC has become increasingly aware in young people having intense physical exercise, likely due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and high sympathetic tone. Despite enormity and severity of this life-threatening condition, our understanding of fundamental mechanisms, particularly those involving transcriptional regulation and epigenetic modification of the related genes underlying the pathology of heart failure and SCD remains limited.
Emerging evidence suggests that epigenetics plays a major role in gene regulation in heart failure. Epigenetics refers to the heritable regulation of gene expression through modification of chromosomal components without an alteration in the nucleotide sequence of the genome. Three different types of epigenetic variations are known to alter gene expression: modification of histone proteins, methylation of genomic DNA and regulatory noncoding RNAs.
In the proposed project, we aim to use systematic approaches to analyse the profiles of DNA/RNA methylation and histone modification between normal and heart failure/arrhythmic hearts. Thereafter, taking observed changes for further investigations to determine whether these changes are causes or consequences of the disease. Further investigations will take place in genetically-modified animal models and various cellular models, including human cardiomyocytes derived from iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells) in the condition of heart failure and induced lethal ventricular arrhythmias.
This project will provide a comprehensive training for a PhD student in systematic and translational medicine with a wealth of molecular and cellular approaches, including next generation RNA sequencing, genome-wide methylation screening and Chip-seq etc, in vivo cardiac functional study (echocardiography, electrocardiography and various surgical procedures) and computational simulation methods.
Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area/subject. Candidates with previous laboratory experience, particularly in cell culture and molecular biology, are particularly encouraged to apply.
How To Apply
For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/). Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select PhD Genetics
For international students, we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/equality-diversity-inclusion/”
For international students we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences. For more information please visit http://www.internationalphd.manchester.ac.uk