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(EPSRC DTP) Development of lung metabolism models using mass spectrometry for improved airway disease biomarker discovery

   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

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  Dr S Fowler, Dr C Whitfield, Dr Waqar Ahmed, Prof O Jensen  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are small gas-phase molecules that arise from metabolic processes for example in inflammation and infection. Sampling VOCs in breath has the potential for real time detection and monitoring of a wide range of diseases. To enable progress towards large scale clinical studies (and future implementation) standardised sampling methods are needed, yet little is known about the effects of variations in airflow, inflammation, time of day and environment on VOCs, all of which are critical factors in inflammatory lung diseases such as asthma. Methods for restricting exhalation flow rates will be developed for two breath samplers, and a cohort of healthy volunteers will be recruited to provide samples. These will be analysed using of state-of-the-art analytical platforms such as gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and high-resolution proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS). This will be followed up by a smaller study in the clinic to measure how airway geometry impacts on measurement by using a methacholine challenge to trigger airway narrowing and measurement of ventilation heterogeneity using a multiple breath washout test. This is a highly multi-disciplinary project working across mathematical sciences, analytical chemistry, and respiratory medicine.

Entry Requirements

Applications are invited from UK nationals only. Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.

To be considered for this project you MUST submit a formal online application form. For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (

Funding Notes

EPSRC DTP studentship with funding for a duration of 3.5 years to commence in September 2021. The studentship covers UK tuition fees and an annual minimum stipend £15,609 per annum. Due to funding restrictions, the studentship is open to UK applicants only.
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