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MVLS/EPSRC - Nanovibrational control of chondrogenic differentiation

   College of Medicine, Veterinary and Life Sciences

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  Prof M Dalby, Prof M Salmeron-Sanchez  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Technologies to help support the quality of life of the ageing population are a major research focus. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent chronic joint problem in the developed world – the annual cost of to the UK alone is £13B. OA is hard to treat as cartilage has no blood supply and so damaged cartilage cannot regrow. Surgeons have a strong desire to find regenerative interventions, such as cell therapies. However, lab grown chondrocytes, the cells that produce cartilage, develop the wrong phenotype when cultured in the lab ahead of being provided to the patient and this means that cell therapy approaches do not work well.  

We have developed a new bioreactor that delivers tiny, nanoscale vibrations to isolated mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), the stem cells from the bone marrow that can form chondrocytes. These 30 nm, 1000 Hz vibrations can be used to tell the MSCs to form chondrocytes, and, interestingly, the chondrocytes produced in the bioreactor have the correct phenotype (collagen II high, collagen type I and X low) to form the smooth, articulating, cartilage of the joint.  

This project will use approaches such as super-resolution confocal microscopy, qPCR, western analysis, RNA seq and metabolomics to investigate MSC response to nanovibration in cell culture. The project will also use novel hydrogels to culture the nanovibrated cells in 3D to provide predictive studies of the chondrocyte behaviour in 3D as a way of exploring new methods to replace animal experimentation. 

Funding Notes

Start: 1st October 2022

Qualifications criteria: Applicants applying for a 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 discipline; Physical Sciences, Engineering, or other relevant disciplines. The MVLS/ESPRC grant provides tuition fees and stipend £16,062 (UKRI rate 2022/23).

View programme details here : https://www.gla.ac.uk/colleges/mvls/graduateschool/mvlsepsrcstudentships/
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