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Growth factor isoforms in neural and pancreatic beta cell differentiation


   Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing

  Dr F Mackenzie  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Disorders in which specific cells malfunction and degenerate, such as diabetes and neurodegenerative disease, are a huge unmet health need for which there are currently no curative treatments. Regenerative medicine aims to treat these disorders by regrowing the missing cells. We are interested in identifying cellular and genetic pathways in neural and pancreatic beta cells that control cell differentiation, in order to facilitate their regeneration. This PhD project will build on previous and current research in our labs which investigates growth factor isoforms resulting from alternative mRNA splicing. As there is evidence that these isoforms are differently expressed in changing physiological conditions, these could be a target for regenerative medicine. The project will investigate the function of a specific isoform in both neural and pancreatic beta cell lines and in human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) in in vitro culture, using a variety of molecular and cellular methods.

The student will gain experience in techniques including tissue (cell) culture, iPSC culture, RNA/qRT-PCR analysis, protein analysis (Western blotting), molecular cloning, microscopy, bioinformatics, and immunohistochemistry/immunofluorescence. The student will join active and supportive research groups, and will be part of the Interdisciplinary Hub for the Study of Health and Age-related conditions (IhSHA) at Kingston University London.

Applicants must have or be expecting to obtain at least an Upper Second (2i) class degree in a related subject (e.g. Biomedical Science, Biochemistry, Genetics). Experience in laboratory work or an MSc/MScR would be an advantage, but training will be given.

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