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Self funded BMS Project: Therapeutic potential of extracellular vesicles from different mesenchymal stem cell subtypes.

   York Biomedical Research Institute

About the Project

Human mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) are found in adult tissues such as bone marrow and are able to differentiate into bone, cartilage and fat tissues. There is intense interest in determining how MSCs may be used in future cell-based therapies, including gene therapy and tissue engineering, and as in vitro models for fundamental research and drug discovery. However, little is known about MSC identity and research is often performed on heterogeneous mixtures of different MSC sub-populations. Using a process of telomerase-based immortalisation and cell cloning, we have generated several different MSC lines that represent different “types” of MSCs. We have identified MSC subtypes that have potent tissue regeneration capacity and others that do not differentiate but are immuno-suppressive. These functional differences are reflected in the products they secrete, including extracellular vesicles (EVs). EVs are nano-sized, membrane-bound structures that carry RNAs and proteins to mediate intercellular communication. Therefore EVs may provide a valuable and flexible alternative to cell-based therapy. This project will examine the characteristics of MSC sub-populations and identify how specialised EVs may be developed for clinical use. We will examine EV mechanism of action and determine how EVs may be engineered to carry additional cargoes. We will also perform important preclinical tests to identify appropriate disease targets. As our MSC parent lines are immortalised, we have the real opportunity to develop scaled-up procedures to ease clinical translation.

The York Biomedical Research Institute at the University of York is committed to recruiting extraordinary future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills.

Entry Requirements: Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this programme means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any biological, chemical, and/or physical science, or students with mathematical backgrounds who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological questions. 

Programme: PhD in Biomedical Science (3 years)

Start Date: 1st October 2022


Funding Notes

This is a self funded research project. Applicants need to have adequate funds to meet the costs of a self-funded research project including tuition fees and living expenses for the duration of the research programme.

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