Epithelial tissues found in our skin, lungs or gut are under constant environmental stress. When cells within these tissues are damaged or lost, they are replenished by stem cells. Thus, a tissue’s ability to sense stress and stimulate stem cell proliferation is vital to maintain its integrity and prevent tissue dysfunction, degeneration, inflammation and disease. Our lab’s goal is to determine how stress signalling promotes tissue renewal and regeneration. To better understand this process, we use the adult Drosophila (fruit fly) intestine, which has many similarities to our own. Like our own intestine, the fly intestine is maintained by intestinal stem cells (ISCs) that divide to produce two main cell types: absorptive enterocytes and secretory enteroendocrine cells. Upon injury, the fly intestine has remarkable regenerative capacity as ISCs can rapidly proliferate to replace damaged or lost cells (Zhang and Edgar, 2022). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) promote tissue regeneration in many contexts, but how they do this is not fully understood. Upon damage, fly intestines produce ROS that promote ISC-mediated regeneration. This is partly achieved by activating stress signalling in damaged enterocytes, which stimulates their production of ISC mitogens (Patel et al., 2019). During this project, you will further determine molecular mechanisms underpinning ROS-mediated fly intestinal regeneration using genetics, immunostaining, microscopy, image analysis and transcriptomics. Your work will impact our understanding of regeneration and may help develop therapies for inflammatory diseases, cancer, and regenerative medicine. For more information about our lab and our research, please visit www.gutstresslab.org.
Please use the link provided on this page to apply online: PhD Cellular and Molecular Medicine | Study at Bristol | University of Bristol
When making your application, please indicate the supervisor name and the project title on the form. Ensure you provide all supporting documents as per the programme admissions statement.
A first or upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in a biomedical science discipline is required for entry to the PhD programme. English language requirements: please refer to the entry requirements as detailed on the postgraduate prospectus.