Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive disease, associated with both constriction and abnormal proliferation of cells in the pulmonary vasculature, leading to narrowing of the arteries and increased pulmonary arterial pressures. Prognosis is poor and survival has been reported as only 58% after 3 years on therapy. Current therapies do not treat the underlying causes of disease and novel therapeutic approaches are urgently needed. A better understanding of the pathophysiology of PAH is critically important to aid development of such therapies.
Cellular communication is known to play an important role in vascular regulation. One way in which cells communicate with one another is through release of chemical mediators which can change the behaviour of neighbouring cells. Pannexin-1 (Panx1) is a transmembrane protein known to play an important role in cell-cell communication. Panx1 forms a pore connecting the inside of the cell to the outer environment. It is known that Panx1 channels are involved in regulation of the systemic vasculature, but the effects of Panx1 channels on pulmonary vascular regulation have still to be investigated.
The aim of this project is to assess the role of Panx1 in regulation of the pulmonary vasculature. The PhD student will investigate i) Panx1 expression in pulmonary arteries and pulmonary vascular cells derived from experimental models of PAH ii) role of Panx1 in proliferation of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts from humans and animal models of PAH iii) role of Panx1 in pulmonary vascular reactivity iv) development of PAH in mice which are genetically deficient in Panx1.
Successful applicants will normally hold a UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent); or a Masters degree in a subject relevant to the research project. Candidates are requested to submit a more detailed research proposal (of a maximum of 2000 words) on the project area as part of their application.
Glasgow Caledonian University’s research is framed around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, We address the Goals via three societal challenge areas of Inclusive Societies, Healthy Lives and Sustainable Environments. This project is part of the research activity of the Research Group – Molecular Mechanisms of Diabetes and other Long Term Conditions https://www.gcu.ac.uk/hls/research/researchgroups/molecularmechanismsofdiabetes/.