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How does endothelial damage contribute to progression of canine myxomatous mitral valve disease?

   Bristol Veterinary School

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  Dr MJ Hezzell  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The project:

Have you ever wondered why some of your patients with myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) do better than others? This project is a unique opportunity to use your clinical skills to advance science, while developing your research skills in a world-leading laboratory.

Hormones released in MMVD damage the glycocalyx, a gel-like layer protecting the vascular endothelium and red blood cells (RBC). This project will look for evidence of glycocalyx damage (using a novel, world-leading method developed in our laboratory) and endothelial injury (using measurements of biomarkers and flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD)) in an ongoing longitudinal study of dogs with MMVD. We aim to a) develop a novel circulating biomarker for improved MMVD management, b) generate new pathophysiological hypotheses and c) identify novel treatment targets.

The successful candidate will be part of a large, friendly, welcoming and supportive research group and receive training in all clinical (e.g. FMD), laboratory (e.g. glycocalyx depth measurement and ELISAs) and statistical methods used. They will also be involved in generation of clinical data through participation in research clinics.

How to apply:

Apply online for this project. In the funding section of the application form, select Studentship as the main source of funding and enter How does endothelial damage contribute to progression of canine myxomatous mitral valve disease? Please use your personal statement to demonstrate any skills or experience you have that are relevant to this project.

Candidate requirements: 

The ideal candidate will be a veterinary surgeon who enjoys communicating with dog owners and would like to learn the research skills needed to drive forward our understanding of this clinically important condition. The successful applicant will be required to participate in a research clinic that generates clinical data for research into MMVD. The candidate will undertake some work (60%) at the University of Bristol Langford campus (e.g. clinical data collection) and some work (40%) on the central campus in the Dorothy Hodgkin Building (e.g. laboratory work).


·      Standard University of Bristol eligibility rules apply. Please visit for more information.

·      Veterinary Surgeon (MRCVS)

·      Enthusiasm for pursuing training in research techniques


Research experience is desirable, but not essential


We welcome informal enquiries – these should be directed to Melanie Hezzell ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

This is a full time 3.5 year fully-funded studentship by Bristol Veterinary School. The studentship is open to applicants eligible for “Home” fees. International students are welcome to apply but must be able to fund the difference between UK and International tuition fees.
The start date for the studentship is negotiable, depending on the successful candidate’s availability and the funding will cover tuition fees and a stipend. Stipend £24,090 (year 1), increasing annually to £25,190 (pro rata) in year 4.
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