Skin in the largest organ in the human body consisting of epidermis, dermis and subcutis. It also contains epithelial appendages, including hair follicles and sweat glands. Due to the skin location it is prone to injury induced wounds. Skin wound healing is a highly coordinated process divided in three partially overlapping phases of inflammation, proliferation/repair and remodelling. Defects in this process lead to the chronic non-healing wounds, common in people with underlying health conditions, for example diabetes, and in elderly. The deeper understanding of molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling normal wound healing and how defects in these mechanisms result in chronic non-healing wounds is important for improvement of wound treatment.
Skin wound healing is driven by proliferation, migration and/or differentiation of several cell types, including immune cells, epithelial cells, endothelial cells and fibroblasts. These processes are control by changes in the cellular gene expression programmes, that are governed by interplay of cell signalling pathways, transcription factors and epigenetic regulators. Epigenetic regulators control gene transcription by regulating the structural dynamics of chromatin, which is the complex of DNA with proteins and RNA the eukaryotic chromosomes are made off. The role of epigenetic regulators in the control of skin development and homeostasis is a very active research area, including the work in Dr Fessing’s and his collaborators’ laboratories. However, how epigenetic regulators control skin wound healing remains poorly understood.
The project will be focused on the role of a specific class of epigenetic regulators in fibroblast cellular functions during skin wound healing. Better understanding of the underlying mechanisms will also help to further extend our knowledge of chronic non-healing wounds and improve therapeutic approaches.
Dr Fessing and the co-supervisor laboratories are located in the Centre for Skin Sciences, one of the leading skin research centres in the UK. The PhD student will develop a deep expertise in molecular, cellular, and skin biology. The hands-on knowledge of a broad range of modern biomedical and biological experimental and data analysis techniques will also be gained. The Centre for Skin Sciences is part of the School of Chemistry and Biosciences at the Faculty of Life Sciences, which hosts a dynamic diverse collaborative team of biologists and chemists focusing on the modern research in biosciences and biomedical sciences.
Applicants should hold, or be expected to hold, a Master’s degree with a minimum of a Merit, and/or a UK 1st/ 2.1 class Bachelor’s Honour’s Degree in Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Biomedical Sciences or a related subject.
Applications should be made via the University of Bradford web site.