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PhD studentship in neuroscience/clinical research: The molecular basis of chronic pain

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, April 30, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

One of the major challenges facing society today is that as we age the incidence of chronic pain (CP) increases, where research indicates that approximately 4% of the global population suffers from chronic pain, with the incidence rate increasing complementary to age, and that the number of people affected with chronic pain is more than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined (World Health Organisation, 2011-13).

CP is a physically debilitating and pathologically complex disorder featuring maladaptive cellular responses and the subsequent development of ectopic discharge and neuronal hyperexcitability. This manifests as allodynia and hyperalgesia in up to ~50% of patients with chronic neuropathic pain (CNP), and is often a consequence of traumatic nerve injury but is also associated with drug- (chemotherapy) and disease-induced (diabetes, multiple sclerosis) factors, where considerable variability in the development of pain, as well as pain sensitivity, exists. For example, ~50% of patients who develop diabetic neuropathy and multiple sclerosis diseases will develop CNP symptoms. Whilst a variety of factors may account for the variability such as race or gender, preclinical data indicate that genetic factors profoundly influence pain sensitivity in both disease- and drug-induced CNP.

In this project we propose to explore genetic and molecular factors that may influence chronic pain in humans. Using molecular biological/biochemical techniques to analyse molecules linked to chronic pain in patient samples including PBMCs will not only allow us to identify mechanisms of pain and potential analgesic drug targets, but also could facilitate clinicians, through the stratification of medicines, in the selection of appropriate analgesic agents based upon a molecular profile. Moreover, we will also explore the relationship of molecular profiles to associated clinical phenotype data, such as pain sensitivity or thresholds.

The project will may involve a wide range of techniques/methods and may include biochemical techniques, cell culture, PBMC analysis, genetic analysis, Quantitative PCR, western blotting, ELISAs, proteomics, immunofluorescence, bioinformatic analysis, clinical data anlaysis, RNA sequencing, array analysis and epigenetics. Project start date is for Sept/Oct 2019. For further information please contact centre director Dr Patrick McHugh ().

Funding Notes

This studentship is co-funded through the CeBioR - View Website and the University of Huddersfield's School of Applied Sciences and includes a research council UK equivalent stipend and tuition fees. Applications for CeBioR studentship are invited from excellent UK/EU students and must have a good honours degree (2.1 or equivalent) in molecular biology, neuroscience, bioinformatics or a related discipline. Applicants must fulfil the residency criteria. To apply, please send an email outlining your motivation and experience to the supervisor () including a CV (and degree transcripts) and the names of two referees.

How good is research at University of Huddersfield in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 10.20

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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