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  Promoting tissue repair with natural cell-signalling peptides

   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

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  Dr M Sherratt, Dr A P Gilmore, Dr Matiss Ozols  Applications accepted all year round

About the Project

In many tissues damage to the extracellular matrix (ECM) can accumulate over a lifetime resulting in the functional manifestations of skin ageing and diseases such as arteriosclerosis, emphysema and arthritis. There is compelling evidence that some bioactive ECM-derived peptides (matrikines) can promote the synthesis of new matrix proteins although the underlying mechanisms of matrikine action are poorly understood. This PhD project aims to identify naturally occurring matrikines which promote tissue repair by characterising their action on skin cells in vitro and in vivo. The student will become well versed in cell and extracellular matrix biology, cell signalling, 3D culture and bio-printing, the application of proteomic and transcriptomic technologies and the ethical and practical aspects of recruiting human volunteers in a clinical setting. The studentship is sponsored by Walgreens Boots Alliance and will be conducted in collaboration with colleagues in France and Germany. There will be opportunities for the student to visit European laboratories and learn the process of skin care product development within a large, multi-national commercial environment.

Entry Requirements:

Applicants are expected to hold, or about to obtain, a minimum upper second class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in cell biology, physiology, biochemistry or bioengineering. A Master’s degree in a relevant subject and/or experience in skin biology/ageing are desirable.

Applications will close when a suitable candidate is found so please apply as soon as possible.

For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website ( the application form select PhD Cell Matrix Research.

Funding Notes

Fully funded Studentship through Walgreens Boots Alliance. Studentship funding is for a duration of four years to commence in September 2019 or January 2020 and covers UK/EU tuition fees and an annual minimum stipend (£15,466 per annum 2019/20). Where international student fees are payable, please provide evidence within your application of how the shortfall will be covered (approximately £19,000 per annum).

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.


Eckersley A, Mellody KT, Pilkington S, Griffiths CEM, Watson REB, O’Cualain R, Baldock C, Knight D, Sherratt MJ. 2018. Structural and compositional diversity of fibrillin microfibrils in human tissues. J. Biol. Chem. 89:109-117.

Bradley EJ, Griffiths CEM, Sherratt MJ, Bell M, Watson REB. 2015. Over-the-counter anti-ageing topical agents and their ability to protect and repair photoaged skin. Maturitas. 80:265-272.

Wells JM, Gagger A, Blalock JE. 2015. MMP generated matrikines. Matrix Biology,. 44-46:122-129.

Duca L, Floquet N, Alix, AJP, Haye B, Haye B, Debelle L. 2004. Elastin as a matrikine. Critical Reviews in Oncology Haematology. 49:235-244.

Naylor EC, Watson RE, Sherratt MJ (2011). Molecular aspects of skin ageing. Maturitas. 69:249-256.