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Identification of strategies to enhance the vasculoprotective effects of stem cells in the injured heart

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

We are offering an opportunity for an excellent candidate to apply for a 3 year PhD studentship. The project involves identifying strategies to improve the delivery and the subsequent therapeutic effects of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for ischemic heart disease. Specifically, we are interested in improving myocardial blood flow within the damaged heart and inhibiting the microcirculatory perturbations that occur. State-of-the-art confocal based intravital microscopy will be used to capture real-time and dynamic microcirculatory images in vivo. This technique also allows quantification of many mirovascular disturbances including cellular interactions with endothelium and changes in vascular integrity and perfusion. The project will focus specifically on imaging the beating heart microcirculation in vivo in experimental models of myocardial infarct. Strategies to enhance MSC retention within injured heart following systemic infusion will also be developed and tested using a range of in vitro adhesion assays and intravital imaging. The mechanisms by which these stem cell populations confer therapeutic benefit will also be identified with a focus on their vasculoprotective effects.

This project would be of interest to a biomedical scientist or clinical scientist wishing to explore the therapeutic potential of stem cells for inflammatory and ischemic heart diseases. It offers an opportunity to study in an excellent research environment, in a research institute with world class facilities and resources devoted to understanding the mechanisms of human disease and driving new translational therapies for patients. We have opportunities available for exceptional candidates with knowledge, experience or an interest in stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, microvascular disturbances or in vivo models. Additional techniques to be used will include cell and tissue culture, cell viability assays, flow cytometry, confocal microscopy, immunohistochemistry, histology and laser Doppler flowmetry.
For more information about the Kalia research group and the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences please see :
To find out more about studying for a PhD at the University of Birmingham, including full details of the research undertaken in each school, the funding opportunities for each subject, and guidance on making your application, you can now order your copy of the new Doctoral Research Prospectus, at:

At present, we would only consider applications from prospective students with:
- a good biomedical degree, with interests in any of the areas outlined above,
- good command of the English language as outlined in the postgraduate prospectus,
- a source of funding to cover tuition fees and bench fees

To apply, please submit your CV and a covering email/letter for consideration by Dr Kalia.

Funding Notes

All applicants should indicate in their applications how they intend to fund their studies. We have a thriving community of international PhD students and encourage applications from students of any nationality able to fund their own studies (Government scholarship), or who wish to apply for their own funding (e.g. Islamic Development Bank International PhD Scholarships, China Scholarship Council, Commonwealth Studentships etc).


Kavanagh et al., Stem Cells. 2015; 33(9):2785-2797
Kavanagh et al., Stem Cell Rev. 2014; 10(4):587-99.
Kavanagh et al., Cell Transplant. 2013;22(8):1485-99.
Kavanagh et al., Stem Cell Rev. 2011; 7(3):672-82.

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