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EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie PhD Studentship - Equine Model of Tendon Injury

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  • Full or part time
    Dr J Dudhia
    Prof K Smith
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Supervisors: Dr Jay Dudhia and Professor Roger K Smith

Department: Clinical Sciences and Services

Injuries to tendons are very prevalent in humans and horses and represent one of the most common causes of pain and morbidity. In the horse up to 30% of racehorses suffer from lameness due to superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) injury. The SDFT is adapted as an energy-storing tendon to aid high-speed locomotion, however repetitive cyclical loading can result in functional loss of the tissue at the structural and cellular levels. In people the Achilles tendon (AT) is similarly adapted as an energy-storing tendon and is commonly injured. In the shoulder tears of the rotator cuff tendons are very common particularly in people over 60 years. The incidence of such injuries is on the increase as more people participate in sports to improve their health and maintain mobility during ageing. Healing of the injuries results in a scar tissue that never regains full function and re-injuries are therefore common. There are currently no good therapies to improve healing.

Tendon Therapy Train is a research, training and innovation programme for human and equine tendon repair and regeneration that will exploit recent advancements in tissue engineering by self-assembly (TESA) technologies that have been responsible of the clinical translation and commercialisation of advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs). This is an interdisciplinary programme with 6 partners in 8 EU countries.

The overall aim of the Tendon Therapy Train programme is to develop a three-dimensional cell assembled prototype for tendon repair, the clinical relevance of which will be assessed in suitable preclinical models to demonstrate proof of principle. Our group’s focus is to characterise the repair processes using the prototype in a clinically relevant equine model of tendon damage.

Validation of an equine model of tendon injury

The main purpose of this PhD will be to build on a previously described surgically induced equine model for superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) injury (1,2). The aim is to fully characterise the biochemical, molecular, mechanical and cellular parameters in this model. In particular, the inflammatory cellular milieu induced by the injury will be studied in detail to charactersise that inflammatory cells and, where possible, the cytokine expression profile. There will be two experimental objectives – in the first the Fellow will learn the basic analytical methodologies for tendon (using cadaveric tissue). We have previously reported on some of the methodologies using a spontaneous tendon disease model3. The second objective will be to analyse the above parameters in tissue from an
in vivo SDFT injury model. The in vivo work will be done at a consortium partner’s laboratory in France (Professor Michael Schramme, Campus Vétérinaire de Lyon, Université de Lyon). Professor Schramme will be a co-supervisor to the Fellow and will perform the surgical procedures from which the Fellow will gain considerable experience in experimental models. The Fellow will perform in vitro
analyses on dissected tendons at euthanasia.
The studentship will commence from September 2016.

Applications should be made via UKPASS. For more information see How to Apply.

Interviews: Dates to be confirmed but planned for mid-May 2016 at the RVC’s Camden or Hawkshead Campuses
For more information regarding the project, please contact Dr Jay Dudhia Dudhia ([Email Address Removed]) or Professor Roger K Smith ([Email Address Removed] )

Funding Notes

A stipend, mobility and family allowance will be available. Candidates must meet EU H2020-MSCA-ITN criteria which include:

The candidate must be in the first four years* (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree.
Applicants should hold a degree in any biological science, veterinary or medical area.
At the time of recruitment, the candidate must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies) in the U.K. for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment date.

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