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MRC Precision Medicine DTP: Integrating transcriptomic and metabolomic data from people with rheumatoid arthritis to predict clinical response to drug treatment

Project Description

Prof Michael Barrett
Prof Iain McInnes
Dr Mick Watson
Dr Simon Rogers

PhD project summary:
Modern biology has implemented technologies which enable the generation of massive datasets, dissecting the molecular composition of living things. Comparative analyses between healthy and diseased individuals are possible. Moreover, different individuals carrying what is apparently the same disease may respond differently to therapeutics used to treat those diseases. However, the very complexity of humans makes it difficult to find single, obvious markers of disease. What is more, since we can now sequence genomes, assess which genes are expressed at any given time, and also determine the abundance of the small molecule metabolites that assemble to build a human, we have the potential to seek the ways by which genes and their expression influence those metabolic building blocks and in turn how these influence disease. However, sophisticated understanding of bioinformatics, covering a range of different datatypes is required to enable this route to enhanced inference. In this project students will take existing transcriptomic and metabolomics datasets from RA patients with clearly characterized responses to drug treatment. Individual data types and integrated data will be mined and probed in novel ways to seek new biomarkers that can predict how patients will respond to drugs.

This MRC programme is joint between the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. You will be registered at the host institution of the primary supervisor detailed in your project selection.

All applications should be made via the University of Edinburgh, irrespective of project location:

Please note, you must apply to one of the projects and you should contact the primary supervisor prior to making your application. Additional information on the application process is available from the links below:

For more information about Precision Medicine visit:

Main programme page:

Funding Notes

Start: September 2019

Qualifications criteria: Applicants applying for a MRC DTP in Precision Medicine studentship must have obtained, or will soon obtain, a first or upper-second class UK honours degree or equivalent non-UK qualifications, in an appropriate science/technology area.

Residence criteria: The MRC DTP in Precision Medicine grant provides tuition fees and stipend of at least £14,777 (RCUK rate 2018/19) for UK and EU nationals that meet all required eligibility criteria.

Full eligibility details are available: View Website

Enquiries regarding programme:

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