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Investigating the paracrine regulation of insulin and glucagon secretion.


School of Medicine

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Dr J Cantley No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
Dundee United Kingdom Cell Biology Endocrinology Physiology

About the Project

Overview: Applications are invited for a talented and dedicated postgraduate research student (PhD) to join Dr James Cantley’s laboratory at the School of Medicine, University of Dundee. The successful applicant will undertake original research into the paracrine mechanisms controlling hormone secretion from the endocrine pancreas. This research has direct relevance for the changes in endocrine function and metabolism associated with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. With diabetes rates approaching half a billion people worldwide, research in this area is a medical, economic and ethical priority.

Background: Insulin is secreted from pancreatic beta cells to regulate blood glucose levels, whilst glucagon secretion from alpha cells has a counter-regulatory role, acting to increase blood glucose. The two cell types sit in close proximity in pancreatic islets, facilitating paracrine regulation of hormone secretion, alongside well-characterised cell-intrinsic glucose-sensing pathways. Secretion of both insulin and glucagon is dysregulated in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, yet deeper insights into islet cell function are needed to better understand dysregulated hormone secretion and – ultimately – to enable new therapeutic strategies.

Scope of project and training: In this project, the candidate will undertake original research into the molecular mechanisms underpinning the regulation of islet hormone release, and the hierarchies of regulation that exist within the islet, during health and disease. The Cantley group have longstanding expertise in islet biology, and the successful applicant will be trained in the relevant in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo techniques, including disease-relevant cell and mouse models, human tissues, metabolism and secretion assays, imaging, western blotting and transcriptomics.

Candidate sought: We are seeking a candidate with a genuine passion for science, who is highly motivated to pursue a biomedical PhD in cell biology/physiology. Excellent communication skills are essential, including the ability to write text that can be published, present research proposals and results, and represent the research group at internal meetings and external conferences (we anticipate/expect attendance at 1 national and 1 international conference during the PhD). The applicant must be and able to manage their own research and administrative activities in a safe and timely manner, to meet deadlines, and to assume a share of group responsibilities. Strong interpersonal skills are also required, along with the ability to work as part of a research team. Safe working practices and excellent scientific conduct is expected at all times.

Applicants are asked to clearly state their previous research experience (e.g. research projects, student placements, employment etc), along with a brief synopsis of the research project(s) conducted and their role in the project(s). Prior experience in metabolism and endocrinology is not essential. Applicants should also clearly state their motivation for wanting to undertake a PhD in this area.

The Cantley group are located in the Jacqui Wood Centre (Ninewells Hospital and Medical School), providing high quality laboratory space, interaction with other research groups and access to outstanding research facilities. The School of Medicine is currently organised in a COVID-secure manner. This is an excellent opportunity to undertake a doctoral research degree in a world class research environment, develop skills in metabolism and endocrinology, and to contribute to original research in an area of significant unmet medical need.

Informal enquiries are welcome and should be addressed to Dr. James Cantley [Email Address Removed]

To apply please send a copy of your CV with covering letter to [Email Address Removed] by 6pm on Sunday 11th April 2021

Start date - 20 September 2021 (negotiable)


Funding Notes

The post is funded for 3 years by Tenovus Scotland. Personal stipend is set at the standard RCUK rate. The project is supported by a £9K p.a. consumables budget.
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