European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Heidelberg) Featured PhD Programmes
Heriot-Watt University Featured PhD Programmes
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Featured PhD Programmes
Birkbeck, University of London Featured PhD Programmes
University of Hull Featured PhD Programmes

Novel biomarker discovery in heart failure: A metabolomics and systems biology approach

Project Description

Health failure is a highly prevalent condition, and a major cause of death and hospitalisation. Heart failure results in major healthcare costs, and much focus has been directed towards earlier diagnosis and detection, so that established treatments can be introduced.
Existing biomarkers such as the natriuretic peptides are influenced by comorbidities such as renal dysfunction, and these are more appropriate as ‘rule out’ rather than ‘rule in’ biomarkers.
Metabolomics is the study of small, organic molecules within biochemical pathways, using nuclear magnetic resonance, gas chromatography, and mass spectrometry. These have allowed for the discovery and analysis of metabolites implicated in heart failure. Metabolomics also explores links between the patient and environment interactions. Metabolomics is increasingly established as a means to develop novel biomarkers and explore new therapeutic interventions.
In a pilot study, we have identified a fingerprint of serum metabolites that characterize heart failure, and stress the potential of pseudouridine and 2-oxoglutaric acid (a-ketoglutarate in the traditional nomenclature) as novel diagnostic markers of heart failure. Importantly, there was no correlation between renal indices and metabolites and heart failure biomarkers, indicating that these were indeed biomarkers of heart failure and not renal disease per se.

The objective of the PhD studentship is to further characterise pseudouridine and 2-oxoglutaric acid as novel biomarkers in patients with heart failure, and the influence of associated comorbidities, eg. atrial fibrillation. Patients will be recruited in collaboration with hospital and community heart failure clinics run by Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, as well as Royal Liverpool Hospital and Aintree Hospital.

The successfully appointed student would have a background in biochemistry, systems biology or analytical science, and would have a particular interest in the analysis of ‘big data’ (for which training can be provided).

The Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease is fully committed to promoting gender equality in all activities. In recruitment we emphasize the supportive nature of the working environment and the flexible family support that the University provides. The Institute holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of on-going commitment to ensuring that the Athena SWAN principles are embedded in its activities and strategic initiatives.

To apply please send your CV and a covering letter to: Professor Gregory Lip with copy to

Funding Notes

The successful candidate should have, or expect to have, an Honours Degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent). Candidates whose first language is not English should have an IELTS score of 6.5 or above.
A background in biochemistry, systems biology or analytical sciences is preferred with a particular interest in the analysis of ‘big data’ (for which training can be provided).
This would be an unfunded PhD studentship. Details of University fees are at View Website and annual payment of £6000-12000 for research expenses may be required.

Start date would be by negotiation between the Supervisors and Student.


Dunn WB, et al. Serum metabolomics reveals many novel metabolic markers of heart failure, including pseudouridine and 2-oxoglutarate. Metabolomics 2007; 3: 413-426
Albert CL, Tang WHW. Metabolic Biomarkers in Heart Failure. Heart Fail Clin. 2018 Jan;14(1):109-118.

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2020
All rights reserved.