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Targeting TRPV1 channels for the restoration of microvascular barrier function in diabetic retinopathy

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  • Full or part time
    Prof Tim Curtis
    Dr D Simpson
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Diabetic macular oedema is a leading cause of vision loss in people with diabetes. The condition results from damage to the endothelial cells that line the small blood vessels of the retina, the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. As the blood vessels weaken, they leak fluid into the surrounding tissue, causing the retina to swell and resulting in vision loss.

We have recently identified proteins expressed on the surface of the endothelial cells called TRPV1 channels that we believe to be critical in controlling fluid transfer across the blood vessels of the retina. This studentship will determine whether targeting of these proteins could offer new and improved therapeutic options for the treatment of people with diabetic eye disease. The studentship is funded through Diabetes UK on a tax-free bursary starting from £17,000 per annum (increasing annually).


We are looking for graduates who are enthusiastic and strongly motivated to use the most innovative approaches to address key challenges in ophthalmology and diabetic vascular complications. Applicants should have a degree in biological sciences or a related discipline.

The minimum academic requirement is an Upper Second Class Honours degree from a UK or ROI HE provider (or qualifications deemed equivalent by the University).

Students wishing to apply to Queen’s University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language) must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. For more information on English Language requirements see

Funding Notes


Eligibility for both fees (£4,327 for 2019/20, 2020/21 TBC) and maintenance (£17,000 for 2020/2021, increasing annually) depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK or EU resident.


Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Experimental Medicine, website for further details about the Centre:

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