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PhD Studentship: Deciphering molecular crosstalk in the musculoskeletal system: vesicle-mediated communication and its impact on bone health

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, April 22, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Application details:
Reference number: SSEHS/OD
Start date of studentship: 01/07/2019
Closing date of advert: 22/04/19
Interview date: Late May

Primary supervisor: Dr Owen Davies
Secondary supervisor: Professor Mark Lewis

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate to work on an Academy of Medical Sciences funded PhD project that aims to understand how nano-vesicle-communication between muscle and bone impacts musculoskeletal health. It is anticipated that furthering our understanding of vesicle-based communication in the musculoskeletal system has the potential to inform the way we monitor and treat degenerative conditions such as osteoporosis (bone) and sarcopenia (muscle). The project features collaborations with international institutions including the Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT, Boston) and the Myology Centre for Research (INSERM, Sorbonne University, Paris) and provides an opportunity for international placement.

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.
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The School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences has been ranked 1st in the world for Sport-related Subjects (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017, 2018 and 2019).

Full Project Detail

Within our bodies, bone and muscle development is inextricably linked, with mechanical forces generated in the musculature having considerable impact on bone health. The relationship between these tissues is not solely mechanical but is also dependent on the release of proteins and nano-sized particles called extracellular vesicles (EVs) that provide a method of communication. Physical activity has a considerable role in maintaining overall musculoskeletal health by enhancing bone density and recent evidence has shown it modulates the release of EVs into the circulation. However, our current understanding of the contribution of these important nanoparticles to skeletal health is limited. By understanding how EVs contribute to bone maintenance we aim to develop a molecular means of monitoring skeletal health.

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Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in molecular biology, biosciences or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: musculoskeletal biology, practical experience in extracellular vesicle (exosomes/microvesicles) isolation/analysis, tissue engineering.

Contact details:
Name: Dr Owen Davies
Email address:
Telephone number:

How to apply

All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select “School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences”.

Please quote reference number: SSEHS/OD

Funding Notes

The studentship is funded via an Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard award. The studentship will be awarded for 3 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £14,777 for the duration plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Due to funding restrictions the studentship is only open to UK/EU students.

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