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Modelling therapies for surgical scar formationing Update by Supervisor

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr B Wilm
    Dr M Morgan
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Post-operative scarring in the peritoneum is a serious health risk, leading on to adhesions, bands of scar tissue tethering two segments of bowel to each other or to the peritoneal wall. Adhesions can cause chronic severe abdominal pain and life-threatening intestinal obstruction. Currently, surgery is the only approach to treat established surgical adhesions but may generate yet more adhesions.

The tissue that is involved in the scar and adhesion formation is the serosa, a gliding interface lining the abdominal and pelvic cavities and enveloping the visceral organs they contain.
Using a combination of mouse genetics and genetic lineage tracing in mice, with a surgical adhesion model, we have analysed which cells of the serosa become part of the scar tissue and shown that they adopt non-epithelial appearances, suggesting that they have undergone considerable changes along the epithelial-mesenchymal transition process (EMT). EMT is driven by extensive transcriptional reprogramming and regulates tissue/matrix remodelling.

The overarching aim of this project is to understand the molecular and cellular processes of adhesion formation, in order to develop therapeutic interventions to prevent adhesion formation in patients. The student will analyse the biological pathways that mediate serosal cell contribution to the scar formation, based on previous transcriptomics analysis. The project will include defining the signalling pathways that are altered in serosal cells in mouse and human adhesion biopsies. This will enable identification and testing of potential therapeutic agents in the surgical adhesion formation mouse model.

This is an exciting, state of the art, PhD studentship that will allow the student to work on molecular and cellular biology as well as in vivo approaches and patient biopsy analysis, at the interface between mouse models of human disease and development of therapies for clinical applications. The supervisory team will include a consultant general surgeon, allowing exposure to clinical aspects around adhesion formation as complication of abdominal surgery. We have a proven track-record of success and the student will be embedded in a fruitful, and nurturing research environment at the University of Liverpool, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, with the opportunity to work at the forefront of translational surgical pathology.

Qualifications and Experience
Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.
Please note: English Language Requirement for EU Students is an IELTS score of 6.5 with no band score lower than 5.5.
Start date of the PhD will be no later than 1 October 2020

To apply please send your CV and cover letter to [Email Address Removed].

For application enquires please contact Dr Bettina Wilm, [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This is a Thelwall Thomas PhD Studentship (Advancement in Surgical Pathology) funded by the University of Liverpool and will support the student at RCUK stipend rates and cover the tuition fees for 3 years. Applications accepted only from Home/EU applicants.

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