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Targeting redox-active cysteine residues in protein kinases as a new therapeutic approach to ageing and age-associated diseases

Biosciences Institute

Dr E A Veal , Prof P Eyers Friday, January 22, 2021 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Newcastle United Kingdom Biochemistry Cell Biology Genetics

About the Project

Project Summary

This iCASE BBSRC DTP studentship provides an exciting opportunity to use a diverse range of cutting-edge techniques, and exploit the advantages of different model systems, to elucidate new cell signalling mechanisms that protect against ageing/age-associated diseases.

Research Project

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) cause cell damage that is a major contributor to many diseases, including cancer, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, which are increasingly prevalent in our ageing population. However, over the last 10 years, our view of how to limit this damage has been revolutionised. This follows the discovery that low levels of ROS have important, positive, signalling functions, that include initiating protective responses that maintain cell viability/organismal health. Despite, the increasing evidence that localised ROS increases can be beneficial, the mechanisms by which these ROS signals are transduced to protect against ageing/age-associated loss of tissue function remain poorly understood. You will be part of a multidisciplinary team combining a range of genetic, biochemical and computational approaches to provide answers to this fundamental question.

Dr Veal’s lab have successfully used a combination of high throughput genetic screening and proteomic approaches in model yeast and worms to identify several novel ROS-regulated kinases. The goal of your project will be to use standard and cutting-edge molecular biological and biochemical techniques (including genome editing, RNAi, immunoblotting and confocal microscopy) to investigate, in collaboration with Professor Eyers in Liverpool, whether ROS-induced oxidation of cysteines in these kinases mediates the positive effects of ROS in cell (Schizosaccharomyces pombe), and animal (Caenorhabditis elegans) models. By elucidating new signalling mechanisms that mediated effects of ROS, this project will provide an essential step towards the goal of therapeutically enhancing ROS-induced protective responses to counteract the effects of ageing. The industrial placement, supervised by Dr Conlon, will allow you to use network pharmacology to identify the next step towards translating these discoveries.

Research environment

Dr Veal, and Professor Eyers, lead active and well-established research groups in the cell signalling fields. Dr Veal’s group is based in the Biosciences Institute at Newcastle University, which is a vibrant, well-equipped and highly successful research institute (ranked 2nd nationally for research outputs in REF2014) with PhD students contributing to the majority of our papers. Professor Eyers leads a highly successful group in the Institute of Integrative Biology at Liverpool University. Dr Nichola Conlon CEO of the industrial partner, Nuchido (based in Newcastle) and an expert in network pharmacology, will supervise the industrial placement, which will provide a fantastic opportunity to experience first-hand the process involved in starting to translate findings from ageing research. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the lead supervisor for further details before making an application.


Applications should be made by emailing with a CV and a covering letter, including whatever additional information you feel is pertinent to your application; you may wish to indicate, for example, why you are particularly interested in the selected project/s and at the selected University. Applications not meeting these criteria will be rejected. We will also require electronic copies of your degree certificates and transcripts.

In addition to the CV and covering letter, please email a completed copy of the Application Details Form (Word document) to , noting the additional details that are required for your application which are listed in this form. A blank copy of this form can be found at:

Funding Notes

CASE studentships are funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) for 4 years. Funding will cover tuition fees at the UK rate only, a Research Training and Support Grant (RTSG) and stipend. We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK and are able to offer a limited number of bursaries that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.

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