Harnessing the protective function of adipose tissue B cells in atherosclerosis
The student will benefit from the highly stimulating environment of the Centre for Cardiovascular Science, (https://www.ed.ac.uk/cardiovascular-science), where they will undertake a range of training and development opportunities as part of a PhD programme held by the College of Medicine/British Heart Foundation. Supported by excellent core research facilities, our experimental strategy spans molecular genetics, cell biology, in vivo physiology and experimental medicine. Our training emphasizes translation and encourages integration of diverse skills in multidisciplinary research projects. The student will also have opportunities to share their research at conferences and through public engagement and outreach activities.
Atherosclerosis causes 188,000 heart attacks and 240,00 strokes in the UK each year. With no current treatment, there is a crucial need to understand what controls the development of atherosclerosis to develop new therapies. B cells are emerging as key regulators of atherosclerosis and strategies harnessing the protective properties of B cells could be developed for the treatment of atherosclerosis.
Our lab demonstrated that the pericardial adipose tissue surrounding the heart is critical to maintain populations of B cells with athero-protective characteristics (Jackson-Jones LH, C. Curr. Opin. Immunol., 2018, Jackson-Jones LH, Nat. Commun., 2016, Bénézech C, Nat. Immunol., 2015). In this project the student will investigate the nature and function of human pericardial B cells using biopsies from patients undergoing open–heart surgery. Using experimental models of atherosclerosis, the student will also aim to identify new factors regulating the athero-protective function of B cells. They will also use state of the art single-cell RNA sequencing to characterise the transcriptional signature and repertoire of human pericardial B cells coupled with in vitro and in vivo approaches of immune cell phenotyping.
This project will be supervised by Dr Cécile Bénézech (https://www.ed.ac.uk/profile/cecile-benezech), Dr Marc Dweck(https://www.ed.ac.uk/profile/marc-dweck) and Dr Judith Sluimer (Maastricht University, https://evbo.org/dr-judith-sluimer)
Candidates: Outstanding applicants wishing to develop a career in cardiovascular research will have a BSc (Hons) degree (First or Upper Second class or equivalent) or a Masters qualification (Distinction or Merit) in the biomedical sciences, physiology or medicine. Previous research experience and knowledge in bioinformatics and/or immunology are desirable.
A generous tax-free stipend, research costs and tuition fees (Home/EU rate ) are provided. Please note that students classified as International for University Fee purposes are not eligible. Please verify your Fee status with the University's Registry before making your application.
We require a one-page personal statement highlighting your motivation for applying to this project; a CV and letters from two academic referees. All documents should be sent or emailed to:
Centre for Cardiovascular Science
The Queen’s Medical Research Institute
47 Little France Crescent,
Edinburgh, EH16 4TJ. Tel: +44(0) 131 242 6724
Email: [email protected]