Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now

Examining the mechanisms that cause cardiovascular disease by studying the heart or adipose tissue

   Department of Biomedical Sciences

  Dr Samuel Boateng  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Heart failure has a serious impact on our society and once diagnosed has a poor survival rate. In the United Kingdom, there are about 1.5 million people living with the after-effects of a heart attack. Worldwide, heart failure is becoming an increasing concern even in developing countries. There are many causes of heart failure which result in poor heart function. However, the exact mechanism by which heart failure occurs is still poorly understood. One of the goals of my laboratory is to determine how the heart and heart cells respond to the mechanical stresses that normally lead to heart failure. We also study the effect of obesity and ageing on the heart. Studying these processes will help us understand the biological pathways involved, leading to the development of new drugs which will help cure and/or prevent heart failure.

More recently, my laboratory is also studying adipose tissue and how it remodels in response to obesity, exercise, stress and ageing. We are particularly interested in understanding how the adipose tissue around the heart (pericardial fat) remodels since this is known to have a big impact on heart function. Therefore these projects will give you an opportunity to study the heart and/or adipose tissue or blood markers of disease from clinical studies.

These projects will involve cell/molecular biological techniques such as histological analysis, tissue culture, real-time RT-PCR, Western immunoblotting, gene expression analysis, siRNA knockdown, confocal microscopy and much more.

If you choose to study in the Boateng lab you will experience an exciting and dynamic atmosphere with many opportunities to present your work at national and international conferences. The work in my lab has been extensively featured by the British Heart Foundation (the biggest supporter of cardiovascular research in the UK), the University of Reading and the BBC news. Please see the websites below for more details on our lab work.

School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading:

The University of Reading, located west of London, England, provides world-class research education programs. The University’s main Whiteknights Campus is set in 130 hectares of beautiful parkland, a 30-minute train ride to central London and 40 minutes from London Heathrow airport.

Our School of Biological Sciences conducts high-impact research, tackling current global challenges faced by society and the planet. Our research ranges from understanding and improving human health and combating disease, through to understanding evolutionary processes and uncovering new ways to protect the natural world. In 2020, we moved into a stunning new ~£60 million Health & Life Sciences building. This state-of-the-art facility is purpose-built for science research and teaching. It houses the Cole Museum of Zoology, a café and social spaces.

In the School of Biological Sciences, you will be joining a vibrant community of ~180 PhD students representing ~40 nationalities. Our students publish in high-impact journals, present at international conferences, and organise a range of exciting outreach and public engagement activities.

During your PhD at the University of Reading, you will expand your research knowledge and skills, receiving supervision in one-to-one and small group sessions. You will have access to cutting-edge technology and learn the latest research techniques. We also provide dedicated training in important transferable skills that will support your career aspirations. If English is not your first language, the University's excellent International Study and Language Institute will help you develop your academic English skills.

The University of Reading is a welcoming community for people of all faiths and cultures. We are committed to a healthy work-life balance and will work to ensure that you are supported personally and academically.


Applicants should have a good degree (minimum of a UK Upper Second (2:1) undergraduate degree or equivalent) in Biological Sciences or a strongly-related discipline. Applicants will also need to meet the University’s English Language requirements. We offer pre-sessional courses that can help with meeting these requirements.

How to apply: Submit an application for a PhD in Biological Sciences at

Further information:

Enquiries: Dr. Sam Boateng, email

Please contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to working with you.

Biological Sciences (4) Engineering (12) Medicine (26) Nursing & Health (27)

Funding Notes

We welcome applications from self-funded students worldwide for this project.
If you are applying to an international funding scheme, we encourage you to get in contact as we may be able to support you in your application.


Clavere NG, Alqallaf A, Rostron KA, Parnell A, Mitchell R, Patel K, Boateng SY. Inhibition of activin A receptor signalling attenuates age-related pathological cardiac remodelling. Dis Model Mech. 2022 May 1;15(5):dmm049424. doi: 10.1242/dmm.049424. Epub 2022 May 9. PMID: 35380160.
Boateng SY, Olfert IM, Chantler PD. Role of Perivascular Adipose Tissue and Exercise on Arterial Function with Obesity. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2021 Apr 7. doi: 10.1249/JES.0000000000000251. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33831902
Bicer M, Sheard J, Iandolo D, Boateng SY, Cottrell GS, Widera D. Electrical Stimulation of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells in 3D Nanofibrillar Cellulose Increases Their Osteogenic Potential. Biomolecules. 2020 Dec 18;10(12):1696. doi: 10.3390/biom10121696. PMID: 33353222.
Al-Dibouni A, Gaspar R, Ige S, Boateng SY, Cagampang FR, Gibbins J, Cox RD, Sellayah D. Unique Genetic and Histological Signatures of Mouse Pericardial Adipose Tissue. Nutrients 2020, 12, 1855.
Pitoulis FG, Hasan W, Papadaki M, Clavere NG, Perbellini F, Harding SE, Kirk JA, Boateng SY, de Tombe PP, Terracciano CM. Intact myocardial preparations reveal intrinsic transmural heterogeneity in cardiac mechanics. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2020 Apr;141:11-16.

Pierrat OA, Paudyal A, Woodruff J, Koroleva O, Boateng SY. The exon junction complex senses energetic stress and regulates contractility and cell architecture in cardiac myocytes. Biosci Rep. 2017 Jul 7;37(4). doi: 10.1042/BSR20170707.

Paudyal A, Dewan S, Ikie C, Whalley BJ, de Tombe PP, Boateng SY. Nuclear accumulation of myocyte muscle LIM protein is regulated by heme oxygenase 1 and correlates with cardiac function in the transition to failure. J Physiol. 2016 Jun 15;594(12):3287-305.

Atkins JD, Boateng SY, Sorensen T, McGuffin LJ. Disorder Prediction Methods, Their Applicability to Different Protein Targets and Their Usefulness for Guiding Experimental Studies. Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Aug 13;16(8):19040-54.

Ravishankar D, Watson KA, Boateng SY, Green RJ, Greco F, Osborn HM. Exploring quercetin and luteolin derivatives as antiangiogenic agents. Eur J Med Chem. 2015 Jun 5;97:259-74.

Arif IS, Hooper CL, Greco F, Williams AC, Boateng SY. Increasing doxorubicin activity against breast cancer cells using PPARγ-ligands and by exploiting circadian rhythms. Br J Pharmacol. 2013 Apr 12. doi: 10.1111/bph.12202.

Hooper CL, Paudyal A, Dash PR and Boateng SY. Modulation of stretch-induced myocyte remodelling and gene expression by nitric oxide: A novel role for lipoma preferred partner in myofibrillogenesis. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2013 May;304(10):H1302-13. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00004.2013. Epub 2013 Mar 15
Hooper CL, Dash P and Boateng SY. Lipoma preferred partner is a mechanosensitive protein regulated by nitric oxide in the heart. FEBS Open Bio 2, 2012, Pages 135–144.
Boateng SY, Senyo SE, Qi L, Goldspink PH and Russell B. Myocyte remodelling in response to hypertrophic stimuli requires nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of muscle LIM protein. J Mol Cell Cardiol 47(4): 426-35 (2009).
Associated editorial. MLP: A stress sensor goes nuclear. Editorial. J Mol Cell Cardiol 47(4): 423-425 (2009).

Boateng SY and Goldspink PH. Assembly and maintenance of the sarcomere night and day. Cardiovascular Research (Review). 2008;77(4):667-75 (2008).
Clavere NG, Alqallaf A, Rostron KA, Parnell A, Mitchell R, Patel K, Boateng SY. Inhibition of activin A receptor signalling attenuates age-related pathological cardiac remodelling. Dis Model Mech. 2022 May 1;15(5):dmm049424. doi: 10.1242/dmm.049424. Epub 2022 May 9. PMID: 35380160.

Please also see Dr Sam Boateng's academic profile:

Register your interest for this project