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Investigating the molecular mechanism of inflammatory bowel disease

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

Project Description

Cohn’s disease together with ulcerative colitis (UC) are the two main variations of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). 2.5-3 million people in Europe are affected by inflammatory bowel disease with a direct healthcare cost of 4.5-6 billion Euro per year. Inflammatory bowel disease has a multifactorial etiology involving genetic alterations and environmental factors. Although a number of genes involved have recently been identified, precise disease mechanisms are still unclear. The protein NOD2 (Nucleotide-binding and oligomerization domain 2) plays a key role in the development of Crohn´s disease, and other chronic inflammatory diseases of barrier organs. NOD2 is part of the innate immune system of intestinal epithelia regulating NFkappaB activation, which is disrupted in Crohn´s disease. Recently, it has been shown that NOD2 is associated with endosomes and that endosomal localsiation is a crucial step in NOD2 signal transduction. Crohn’s disease mutations have been shown to impair NOD2 endosomal localization. Endosomes are part of the endosomal pathway and this project aims to investigate the role of endosomal trafficking in NOD2 signal transduction. We believe that this will lead to the identification of novel drug targets for Crohn’s disease treatment.
Techniques: Live-spinning disc confocal imaging, super-resolution microscopy, cell culture, transfection of cells, basic molecular techniques like cDNA cloning, PCR, western-blotting, 3D cell cultures including modern organ on chip technology

1.) Burish, J. et al. Inflamm. Bowel Dis., 20, 36-46 (2014)
2.) Schreiber S et al., Nat Rev Genet., 6, 376-388 (2005)
3.) Nakamura, N. et al. Nature, 505, 240-244 (2014) PMID24695226

Science Graduate School
As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you’ll be part of the Science Graduate School. You’ll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You’ll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience the breadth of technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit to learn more.

Funding Notes

Entry requirements
First class or upper second 2(i) in a relevant subject. To formally apply for a PhD, you must complete the University's application form using the following link: View Website

*All applicants should ensure that both references are uploaded onto their application as a decision will be unable to be made without this information*.


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FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.90

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