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Molecular Imaging and Theragnostics for Wound Healing

   Hull York Medical School

   Friday, February 10, 2023  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited for an exciting 3-year fully funded PhD studentship to commence in September 2023. 

The studentship is part of an interdisciplinary programme of work supervised by Dr Holly Wilkinson, Prof Mat Hardman and Prof Steve Archibald at the Hull York Medical School. The project provides a unique opportunity to use molecular imaging to determine the factors that cause poor wound healing, alongside developing new theragnostic strategies to treat chronic wounds.

Chronic non-healing wounds are a serious, underappreciated problem among the elderly and diabetic, and cost the NHS a staggering £6Bn per annum. As current wound treatments are inadequate, there remains a clinical unmet need to develop effective new therapies for chronic wounds. The purpose of this PhD studentship is to build upon our previous work understanding the contribution of cellular senescence to impaired healing in the elderly and diabetic (e.g. Wilkinson et al., 2019 J Invest Dermatol).

The project will provide an unprecedented opportunity to identify and target senescent cells in wounds using molecular imaging and novel theragnostic agents. The student will perform detailed mechanistic studies as well as testing the potential to re-purpose existing theragnostic drugs for the treatment of chronic wounds. This project will provide extensive training in our cutting-edge methodologies including theragnostic synthesis, molecular imaging and in vivo wound models. Strong clinical links will allow evaluation of senescence in human wound samples. Moreover, the successful candidate will employ a range of tissue analysis techniques including histology, confocal microscopy and RNA-sequencing.

For informal inquiries, please contact Dr Holly Wilkinson ().

About the research cluster

Theragnostics is a rapidly developing area of nuclear medicine which combines diagnosis and therapy into a single unified strategy for the treatment of disease. We are already implementing approved theragnostics into the clinic at Castle Hill Hospital, for the benefit of cancer patients in the surrounding area. Complementary to this is our ambition to expand our own research capacity around novel theragnostic radiopharmaceuticals and their application to disease. In 2022, we established the Hull University Theragnostics (HUT) PhD cluster. The cluster unites two successful research groups in molecular imaging and wound research, to collaborate and explore new ground in theragnostic radiopharmaceutical development with applications in cancer and wounds.

The University of Hull has identified molecular imaging and theragnostics as a strategic priority area for investment and expansion. In partnership with the Daisy Appeal charity and Hull University Teaching Hospitals, we have invested >£15m in world-leading medical imaging infrastructure and technology to form the Hull Molecular Imaging Centres (HuMIC). Our state-of-the-art facilities provide a critical development pipeline for bench-to-bedside translational science, allowing discoveries made in our laboratory to progress into clinical trials. Very few universities have capabilities in translational nuclear medicine; therefore, the University of Hull offers a truly unique training opportunity for PhD students, with real opportunities to influence patient care. We strive to improve healthcare on a local, national, and global scale through innovative science. Successful candidates will join our active and vibrant research groups located in laboratories at the University of Hull, and the Daisy Research Laboratories at Castle Hill Hospital.  Candidates will embed into our £28 million state-of-the-art Health Campus at the University of Hull, joining the Centre for Biomedicine, Hull York Medical School (HYMS). This unique partnership brings together the expertise of both the Universities of Hull and York and offers a thriving environment in which to conduct world-leading research. The Medical School delivers outstanding academic and clinical research with over 85% classed as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2021).

The HUT PhD cluster is led by a diverse team of nationally and internationally renowned scientists with a strong track record in providing excellent PhD supervision. Successful candidates have opportunities to expand their knowledge in the subject area and beyond through engagement with departmental seminars, HuMIC seminars, and the HUT journal club.


Main supervisor: Dr Holly Wilkinson

Co-supervisors: Prof Mat Hardman, Prof Steve Archibald


  • The successful applicant will receive a fee waiver and a maintenance grant / stipend for three years (full-time) or five years (part-time), which covers the research period of the PhD. The fee waiver for 22/23 is £4596 (Home fee) and the maintenance grant is £17668 per annum. This rises each year in line with the UKRI’s recommended stipend allowance.
  • If you need to move into a fourth year (full-time) or sixth year (part-time) to complete your thesis, please note that you will not receive a tuition fee waiver or maintenance grant during this period and you will be required to pay a continuation fee.

Submission of thesis

Submission of your final thesis is expected within three years and three months from the start of your PhD scholarship for full-time and within five years and six months if studying part-time.

Eligibility and entry requirements

This studentship will appeal to a candidate with a strong interest in the Biomedical area. You will require an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.1, or MSc/MRes, in a relevant subject (Biomedical Science, Biochemistry or related discipline). If English is not your first language you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ with a minimum of 6.0 in all components.

International applicants

This opportunity comes with a Home fee waiver only, which will not cover the full International fee. You will therefore need to pay the difference between the Home fee and the International fee and will need to provide evidence that you have sufficient funds to cover this.

How to apply

Applications are via the University of Hull webpage

Closing date for applications

10 February 2022

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