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PhD Studentship Opportunity: In-vitro model for cardiac aging – elucidating the role of extracellular matrices on molecular and functional properties of the ageing heart

Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences

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Dr K Jeevaratnam No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

In the heart, the extracellular space, also known as interstitium, can be broadly divided into a fluid phase (water, electrolytes, nutrients, and some plasma proteins) and the extracellular matrix (ECM). The ECM can be considered as a “molecular net”, whose laxity can determine the availability and concentration of bio-active molecules (e.g. growth factors and cytokines) interacting with the cells. Throughout our lifetime ECMs undergo a lot of remodelling in response to physiological and pathological processes, such as mechanical, electrical or hormonal activations occurring to the heart. Such adaptive responses by the ECM lead to changes in shape, volume and mass of both the atria and ventricle.

Recent evidence suggests that aging processes heavily contribute to ECM remodelling in cardiac tissues. To date, our knowledge on (1) how ageing influences ECM composition, (2) whether and how an aged matrix can affect the regenerative capacity of cardiac cells, (3) the impact of a aged ECM on cell-to-cell communication, (3) the impact on an aged ECM on cardiac therapeutic intervention. The aim of this proposal will be to develop an in vitro model of cardiac tissue ageing, to explore how ageing affects the ability of the ECM components to modulate the conductivity, mechanical properties as well as the intrinsic electrophysiological and molecular properties of cardiac cells.

This is a three year project commencing in October 2020.

Entry requirements:
• MSc 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

How to apply:
Applications should be made through the Biosciences and Medicine PhD course page:
Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application.

Applicants are advised to contact the primary supervisor Kamalan Jeevaratnam, [Email Address Removed], for informal enquiries before applying for the studentship.

Funding Notes

This is a full funded studentship for UK/EU students with an annual stipend at UKRI rates for 36 months. Funding is provided by the Dunhill Medical Trust ‘EMERGE’ Doctoral Training Programme.

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