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PhD Studentship Opportunity in A novel in-vitro 3-D cell culture model to study physiological mechanism of ageing in urothelial cells

Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences

About the Project

Bladder dysfunction significantly reduces quality of life and is the only understudied of all currently highly prevalent age-related chronic diseases. Ageing is a significant factor for bladder diseases and our pilot study suggests an important role of the urothelium (bladder inner-lining) – the newly recognised sensory structure in bladder ageing and ageing-associated bladder disorders. A major step forward is to understand cellular and subcellular mechanisms of ageing in urothelium from ageing bladders which necessitates the use of efficient in vitro models. A big challenge to study physiological mechanism of ageing in urothelial cells is the limitation of viable urothelial cells from ageing bladders and the short time window to catch a large variety of cellular activities.

This project aims to develop a novel in vitro model to accelerate the study by seeding native ageing urothelial cells on extracellular matrix scaffolding with 3-D growth, providing physiologically relevant environment. The project will first set up and validate this in vitro model of 3-D cell culture with native mammalian urothelial cells and then demonstrate that the urothelial cells in this model possess basic physiological functions of their native counterparts. The study next will show that urothelial cells from the model retain the key ageing-dependent features of urothelial cells from in vivo ageing mice. Finally, extensive investigations will be conducted using this model to discover age-dependent changes in urothelial cell activities and cell signalling and to identify the underlying cellular mechanisms and molecular basis.

The project will provide excellent training opportunity. A variety of state-of-art physiological and molecular techniques will be used in combination with tissue engineering approaches. The student will develop the ability to innovate in biomedical research with personal development as an independent scientist. There will also be interactions with multi-disciplinary research teams and opportunities for international collaborations and national and international conferences.

This is a three year project, commencing in October 2020.

Entry requirements:

• BSc degree or European equivalent degree in a relevant scientific or biomedical discipline (candidates with a medical or veterinary background need not have an MSc)
• Excellent communication and organisational skills
• Ability to work independently and as part of a team
• Experience with basic molecular techniques and physiological measurements
• IELTS overall score of 7, with at least 6.5 in all the components.

• Previous research publication track record

How to apply:

Applications should be sent through the Biosciences and Medicine course page:
Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application.

Funding Notes

Funding for this project is available to citizens of UK and EU candidates, with a stipend provided at UKRI rate per annum. Other overseas candidates may apply but will need to secure top up funding for overseas tuition rate. Funding is sourced by Dunhill Medical Trust ‘EMERGE’ Doctoral Training Programme.

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