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Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes

MASTERS BY RESEARCH PROJECT: Cystic fibrosis: restoring ion transport with small molecules

School of Physiology and Pharmacology

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Prof D N Sheppard Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Start 23 September 2019

This MSc by Research is a laboratory-based project which offers the exciting opportunity to spend 1 year in one of our State-of-the-Art laboratories (plus 1 year thesis writing) at the University of Bristol and experience life as a researcher. You will be working with one of our cutting-edge research groups where you will learn new skills and techniques, including experimental design and implementation, data analysis and scientific writing.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is caused by dysfunction of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), a unique ATP-binding cassette transporter that functions as an ATP-gated anion channel, playing a pivotal role in salt and water movement across epithelial tissues (1). To date more than 2,000 mutations have been identified in the CFTR gene, but most are very rare and not all cause disease (1, 2). The most common cause of CF, the F508del mutation, disrupts CFTR transport to and stability at the plasma membrane and interferes with channel gating (2). To overcome these defects, small molecules have been developed called CFTR correctors and potentiators, which rescue the plasma membrane expression and function of F508del-CFTR (3). Other small molecules restore ion transport to CF cells by activating different anion channels expressed in these cells or functioning as artificial anion channels and transporters (4). An MSc by Research project with our group would explore how rare CF mutations cause CFTR dysfunction and small molecules restore ion transport to CF cells by rescuing or bypassing faulty CFTR proteins (5-8).

Please visit the UOB/faculty of Life Sciences/ School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience/ postgraduate studies website for the complete list of available MSc by Research projects.

Funding Notes

This is a one-year, self-funded Masters (MSc) by research. Fees are £4300 (UK/EU Fee) and bench costs are £5000. Applicants should have (or expect to receive) the equivalent of a First or Upper second-class honours degree in a biomedical discipline.

When applying please select the Faculty of Life Sciences, MSc by Research, School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience


1. Ratjen F et al. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2015; 1:15010.
2. Veit G et al. Mol Biol Cell. 2016; 27:424-33.
3. Hanrahan JW et al. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2017; 34:105-111.
4. Li H et al. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2017; 34:91-97.
5. Kirchner S et al. PLoS Biol. 2017; 15:e2000779.
6. Meng X et al. J Biol Chem. 2017; 292:3706-3719.
7. Liu J et al. Br J Pharmacol. 2018; 175:1017-1038.
8. Li H et al. Nat Chem. 2016; 8:24-32.
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