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Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) for retinal neuroprotection and regeneration.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr B Scheven
    Dr Z Ahmed
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

MSC are increasingly gaining interest as cell therapy for neuronal tissue regeneration. MSC may be able to differentiate into neuronal cell types, but accumulating evidence indicates that these mesenchymal cells provide neuroprotection and nerve repair via paracrine-mediated mechanisms involving a range of secreted neurotrophic growth factors or exosomes. This multidisciplinary research project will investigate in further detail the application and role of MSC and their secretome including MSC-derived exosomes in retinal ganglion cell neuroprotection and neural repair using established in vitro models including primary retinal ganglion cell cultures and in vivo models of optic nerve injury and glaucoma. The PhD study will compare MSC and their protein/exosomal secretome from various sources (e.g. bone marrow, adipose tissue, dental pulp) and also investigate optimisation of pre-culture and delivery conditions to achieve maximum neurogenic & neurotrophic potential. It is anticipated that this study will contribute to the development of novel stem cell-based therapies for central nervous system and retinal neuronal repair.

At present, we would only consider applications from prospective students with:
- a good (bio)medical 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 be considered for this studentship, please send the following documents to [Email Address Removed]:
• A detailed CV, including your nationality and country of birth;
• Names and addresses of two referees;
• A covering letter highlighting your research experience/capabilities;
• Copies of your degree certificates with transcripts;
• Evidence of your proficiency in the English language, if applicable.

Funding Notes

We have a thriving international Researcher community and encourage applications from students of any nationality able to fund their own studies (i.e. through Government scholarship schemes, self-funding), or who wish to apply for their own funding (e.g. Commonwealth Scholarships, Islamic Development Bank International PhD Scholarships, China Scholarship Council, etc).


Mead B, Logan A, Berry M, Leadbeater W, Scheven BA. Concise Review: Dental
Pulp Stem Cells: A Novel Cell Therapy for Retinal and Central Nervous System
Repair. Stem Cells 35(1):61-67 (2017)

Mead B, Hill LJ, Blanch RJ, Ward K, Logan A, Berry M, Leadbeater W, Scheven
BA. Mesenchymal stromal cell-mediated neuroprotection and functional preservation of retinal ganglion cells in a rodent model of glaucoma. Cytotherapy 18(4):487-96 (2016)

Mead B and Scheven BA (2015) Mesenchymal stem cell therapy for retinal ganglion cell neuroprotection and axon regeneration. Neural Regen Res. 10:371-373
Mead B, Logan A, Berry M, Leadbeater W, Scheven BW (2014) Paracrine-mediated neuroprotection and neuritogenesis of axotomised retinal ganglion cells by human dental pulp stem cells: comparison with human bone marrow and adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells. PloS One 9: e109305.

Mead B, Logan A, Berry M, Leadbeater W, Scheven BA. Intravitreally
transplanted dental pulp stem cells promote neuroprotection and axon regeneration of retinal ganglion cells after optic nerve injury. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 54(12):7544-56 (2013)

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 15.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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