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Fibrosis in diabetes: the role of insulin-like growth factor binding proteins

Project Description

REF SHLS-20004 Wright

Treatment of chronic wounds costs around 1% of NHS budget and there is an imperative to develop new therapies. Fibrosis, the formation of excessive fibrous tissue, is a hallmark of diabetes and contributes to the failure of wound healing seen in diabetic skin, which can ultimately result in ulcer formation. In diabetes, fibrosis causes expansion of the extracellular matrix (ECM) – the scaffold of the skin. Advanced glycation products (metabolites of the high glucose levels in diabetes) and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), a member of the insulin-like growth factor binding protein (IGFBP) superfamily, are involved in this process; CTGF interacts with transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) to increase undesirable fibroblast/myofibroblast transformation. We have previously shown that CTGF gene expression changes in dermal fibroblasts exposed to high glucose levels. IGFBP-5 is increased in the fibrotic disease systemic sclerosis where it may contribute to impaired wound healing. However, IGFBP-5 may serve as an antagonist to CTGF and TGF-β, since IGFBP-5 inhibits keratinocyte migration in wound models, and TGF-β actions.

This project will examine IGFBP superfamily members in diabetic fibrosis in skin, aiming to determine mechanisms by which they interact to alter ECM deposition and cellular function. Human dermal fibroblasts and keratinocytes from diabetic and normal donors will be sourced from the GCU Skin Research Tissue Bank. The outputs will contribute to our wound healing studies aimed identifying novel therapeutic targets to mitigate fibrosis in diabetes. The collaborations developed here between the PhD student, scientists, clinicians and Pharma companies that specialise in fibrosis and peptide research make the future development of novel therapeutics a real possibility. The student will benefit from an experienced supervisory team with backgrounds in Dermatology and Diabetes, and have the opportunity to attend focussed meetings such as the Scottish Skin Biology Club (http://scottish-skin-biology-club.org/).

How to Apply
This project is available as a 3 years full-time PhD study programme with expected start date of 1 October 2020.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying.

To apply for this project, use the following link to access the online application form, as well as further information on how to apply: https://www.gcu.ac.uk/research/postgraduateresearchstudy/applicationprocess/.

Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview within four weeks from the closing date.

Please send any other enquires regarding your application to:

Director of Studies Name: Dr Catherine Wright
GCU Research Online URL: https://researchonline.gcu.ac.uk/en/persons/catherine-wright

2nd Supervisor Name: Dr Steven Patterson
GCU Research Online URL: https://researchonline.gcu.ac.uk/en/persons/steven-patterson

Funding Notes

Exceptional candidates will be put forward for the scholarship competition. The Scholarship packages available include fully funded studentships and fees only scholarships. The fully funded studentships are worth £19,509 per year for 3 years, subject to satisfactory progress. They cover payment of tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of £15,009.

For further details on funding see View Website

Related Subjects

How good is research at Glasgow Caledonian University in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.30

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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