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How does the immune system change during children’s interstitial lung disease?


   National Heart and Lung Institute

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  Dr Adam Byrne  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

3-year NHLI-funded PhD post

Applications are invited from candidates with a Master’s degree (Merit and above) and undergraduate training in biological sciences for a PhD studentship.

The studentship will be funded for 3 years with a tax-free bursary of £18000 p.a. Tuition fees at the Home and Ireland rate will also be paid.

Summary of Research

Childhood interstitial lung disease (chILD) is an umbrella term for a group of over 200 rare lung diseases that can affect babies, children, and adolescents. chILDs share common features, including chronic cough, rapid breathing, decreased lung function and reduced blood oxygen levels. Outcomes for children with ILD are variable. chILD is predominantly a long-term condition and children often have lower lung function in adulthood. For example, Neuroendocrine hyperplasia in infancy (NEHI), a rare lung disease, results in difficulty breathing, problems with feeding and developmental delays. chILD is under-researched, with very little known about the causes, traits and mechanisms underlying the disease. There is an urgent requirement to understand the mechanisms involved to improve diagnosis and devise new treatment strategies.

Our recent work has defined how alterations in the respiratory immune system can drive adult ILD. However, the immune system during chILD is largely unexplored. We propose to use state-of-the-art immune profiling techniques to understand how the lung immune system is impacted during chILD. We will utilise lung tissue (taken at the time of diagnosis) and blood samples from a rare cohort of patients with chILD. We will use cutting edge immune profiling techniques, already established through our studies of adult ILD, to define the location and activation of the major immune cell types present in chILD lungs.

Applicants should have training in biological sciences and ideally in immunology, with research experience essential. Prior knowledge of respiratory physiology and experience of working with human or mouse samples would all be desirable but not essential.

Imperial College London provides excellent opportunities for research students' training. All students benefit from a full programme of training in research and transferable skills organised through the Graduate School, the quality of which has been recognised several times at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards.

The student will be based in the section of Inflammation, Repair and Development section within the National Heart and Lung Institute, which provides an exciting environment, with state-of-the-art facilities and excellent opportunities for PhD student training including research seminars and journal clubs. This project will be carried out in close collaboration with clinical teams embedded in at the NHLI, and the institute provides extensive collaborative opportunities with other research groups. We expect this studentship to start in October 2022 but can be flexible for the best candidate.

How to Apply

Applicants must hold, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second-class undergraduate degree or UK equivalent, along with a Masters, both in an appropriate subject from a recognised academic institution. 

To apply please email the following information to Dr. Adam Byrne at [Email Address Removed]

  • Curriculum Vitae (max 2 pages)
  • Personal statement (1 page)
  • Name, address, telephone number or email of two referees. At least one of which must be academic.

Applicants unable to attend interview in person will undergo an online interview and be invited for a second face-to-face meeting before confirmation of offer.

Please note that candidates must fulfil College admissions criteria.

Committed to equality and valuing diversity. We are also an Athena SWAN Silver Award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and are working in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.

Application deadline: 31st August 2022

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