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MRC DiMeN Doctoral Training Partnership: Use of engineered protein polymers in wound repair

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  • Full or part time
    Prof N Reynolds
    Prof J Lakey
    Dr P Gulati
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Cutaneous wound healing is a major socioeconomic and clinical problem resulting in a significant burden, with an estimated £2.3-3.1 billion per year being spent on wound care in the UK, 3% of the NHS total expenditure. As the elderly and diabetics are high risk groups for non-healing and chronic wounds, the health care and financial burden of chronic wound healing is expected to increase exponentially over coming decades. From a commercial perspective the global market for wound-care products is predicted to rise to nearly $21billion in near future from $16.8 billion this year. A particular increase is expected to be seen in bioengineered dressings.

This studentship will build upon and further develop our findings on application of engineered protein polymers in cutaneous wound healing. Importantly, this project will enable progression of basic science discoveries (initiated through MRC Confidence in Concept and a £2.4 M EPSRC/BBSRC Innovate UK project (2015-2020), “Manufacture of complex protein polymers for industry and medicine” led by Professor Jeremy Lakey ( into translational pre-clinical studies.
This project will provide training in tissue engineering of novel skin models, designing new bacterial cells to produce bespoke polymers, and cutting edge microscopy. By utilising innovative synthetic and chemical biology to develop novel complex fibronectin analogues and combining this with expertise in human 3-D skin equivalent culture techniques in Professor Reynolds lab (, this truly interdisciplinary project has the potential for rapid progress and international impact through high quality publications and commercial applications.

Benefits of being in the DiMeN DTP:
This project is part of the Discovery Medicine North Doctoral Training Partnership (DiMeN DTP), a diverse community of PhD students across the North of England researching the major health problems facing the world today. Our partner institutions (Universities of Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield) are internationally recognised as centres of research excellence and can offer you access to state-of the-art facilities to deliver high impact research.
We are very proud of our student-centred ethos and committed to supporting you throughout your PhD. As part of the DTP, we offer bespoke training in key skills sought after in early career researchers, as well as opportunities to broaden your career horizons in a range of non-academic sectors.
Being funded by the MRC means you can access additional funding for research placements, international training opportunities or internships in science policy, science communication and beyond. See how our current DiMeN students have benefited from this funding here:
Further information on the programme can be found on our website:

Funding Notes

Studentships are fully funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) for 3.5yrs
Stipend at national UKRI standard rate
Tuition fees
Research training and support grant (RTSG)
Travel allowance
Studentships commence: 1st October 2019.

To qualify, you must be a UK or EU citizen who has been resident in the UK/EU for 3 years prior to commencement. Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. All applications are scored blindly based on merit. Please read additional guidance here:
Good luck!


Elias MS, Long HA, Newman CF, Wilson PA, West A, McGill PJ, Wu KC, Donaldson MJ, Reynolds NJ. Proteomic analysis of filaggrin deficiency identifies molecular signatures characteristic of atopic eczema. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2017, 140(5), 1299-1309.

Jans R, Mottram L, Johnson DL, Brown AM, Sikkink S, Ross K, Reynolds NJ.
Lysophosphatidic acid promotes cell migration through STIM1- and Orai1-mediated Ca2+(i) mobilization and NFAT2 activation. Journal of Investigatory Dermatology 2013 Mar;133(3):793-802.

Roque AI, Soliakov A, Birch MA, Philips SR, Shah DS, Lakey JH. Reversible Non-Stick Behaviour of a Bacterial Protein Polymer Provides a Tuneable Molecular Mimic for Cell and Tissue Engineering. Advanced Materials 2014, 26 (17), 2704-2709.

How good is research at Newcastle University in Clinical Medicine?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 147.13

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

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