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Extrinsic manipulation of urothelial tissue homeostasis via modification of the glycome

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  • Full or part time
    Prof J Southgate
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The specialisation of the urothelium as the tightest barrier epithelium in the body is underpinned by its capacity for rapid regeneration and the restitution of a functional barrier in response to damage. Combined with the finding that urothelial cells are highly amenable to cell and tissue culture, this provides an experimental system par excellence for investigating mechanisms involved in regulating and dysregulating tissue homeostasis, including the processes of differentiation and regeneration. Although poorly defined, a role for the glycome is implicated: mature superficial cells display an apical glycocalyx that supports barrier function, whilst modifications of matrix-bound proteoglycans are implicated in the sequestration and presentation of autocrine growth factors produced by regenerating urothelium, which includes heparin-binding epidermal growth factor [Varley et al. 2005; PMID 15878346]. The purpose of this project will be to investigate the role of the glycome in urothelial tissue homeostasis by applying glycome-associated research tools and reagents available from the industrial partner, IntelliHep Ltd, to the cell and tissue culture models available in the academic laboratory. These studies are expected to open up the longer term possibility of developing new lines of tissue regenerative therapies.

This project will be co-supervised by Professor Jerry Turnbull (IntelliHep Ltd).

Funding Notes

This is a BBSRC Industrial CASE studentship fully funded for 4 years and covers: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14,057 for 2015-2016, to be confirmed for 2016-2017 but typically increases annually in line with inflation), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. The studentship will be enhanced by the Case Partner.

The studentship is available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

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