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Providing insights into the molecular understanding of heart development and the formation of congenital heart defects.

   School of Life Sciences

About the Project

Our research aim is to understand how the heart develops and then how it goes wrong to give rise to congenital heart defects (CHDs). CHDs affect approximately 0.8%of live births, and are the most common defects in new-born babies. We currently have a number of transgenic mouse lines in-house, carrying either a deletion or a humanised mutation for a gene of interest. We have a number of PhD projects available to study these mice. The techniques we use are molecular, cellular and developmental biology techniques, such as mouse handling, genotyping, embryo dissection, HREM for 2D and 3D phenotypic analysis, qPCR/RT-PCR, RNA-seq, cloning, in situ hybridisation, western analysis, cell culture and immunofluorescence.

The University of Nottingham is one of the world’s most respected research-intensive universities, ranked 8th in the UK for research power (REF 2014). Students studying in the School of Life Sciences will have the opportunity to thrive in a vibrant, multidisciplinary environment, with expert supervision from leaders in their field, state-of-the-art facilities and strong links with industry. Students are closely monitored in terms of their personal and professional progression throughout their study period and are assigned academic mentors in addition to their supervisory team. The School provides structured training as a fundamental part of postgraduate personal development and our training programme enables students to develop skills across the four domains of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF). During their studies, students will also have the opportunity to attend and present at conferences around the world. The School puts strong emphasis on the promotion of postgraduate research with an annual PhD research symposium attended by all students, plus academic staff and invited speakers.



References Sifrim et al. Distinct genetic architectures for syndromic and nonsyndromic congenital heart defects identified by exome sequencing. Nat Genet. 2016 Sep;48(9):1060-5. doi: 10.1038/ng.3627. Epub 2016 Aug 1. PMID: 27479907; PMCID: PMC5988037.
England et al. Tropomyosin 1: Multiple roles in the developing heart and in the formation of congenital heart defects. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2017 May;106:1-13. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2017.03.006. Epub 2017 Mar 27. PMID: 28359939; PMCID: PMC5441184.
Weninger et al. Visualising the Cardiovascular System of Embryos of Biomedical Model Organisms with High Resolution Episcopic Microscopy (HREM). J Cardiovasc Dev Dis. 2018 Dec 15;5(4):58. doi: 10.3390/jcdd5040058. PMID: 30558275; PMCID: PMC6306920.

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