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MRC Precision Medicine DTP: Investigating the role of the extracellular matrix in stroke in the general population

Project Description

Dr Tom Van Agtmael
Prof Jesse Dawson

Project summary:
Stroke is a major cause of death and there is an urgent need to increase our understanding of the genetic basis and molecular mechanisms of stroke to develop effective treatments. Recent evidence has indicated that the extracellular matrix plays a major role in stroke and cerebrovascular disease. For example, we have previously identified that mutations in collagen IV, an important matrix component, cause haemorrhagic stroke. However, it remains unclear in how many stroke patients the extracellular matrix plays a role and the nature of the underlying defects remain unknown. This project will combine population genetics with molecular cell biology to provide insight into the basis of stroke in the general population and the role of the extracellular matrix therein. UK biobank data combined exome sequencing will be exploited to identify putative variants in different extracellular matrix proteins. Using CRISPR-Cag9 genome editing, the mechanism of these variants will then be investigated to increase our understanding of how they can affect the extracellular matrix and cell function. In so doing this project will greatly increase our knowledge of the genetic and molecular basis of stroke in the general population.

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 that your application along with any supporting documents will be shared between both the University of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

For information on ‘How to Apply’ is detailed here:
Please note that all applications must be submitted via the University of Edinburgh:

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

For more information about Precision Medicine visit:

Funding Notes

Start: September 2020

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 qualification, in an appropriate science/technology area.

Residence criteria: The MRC DTP in Precision Medicine grant provides tuition fees and stipend of at least £15,009 (RCUK rate 2019/20) 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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