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The human heart in health and disease, one cell at a time

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, September 20, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

3-year NHLI-funded PhD post – starting October 2019

Applications are invited from candidates with a Master’s degree (Merit and above) in Biomedical Sciences, Immunology or a related discipline, for a 3 year PhD.

Summary of Research

Cardiovascular disease is a daunting health care emergency globally, with heart failure costing > $ 100 billion a year worldwide and the only definitive cure being heart transplantation, there is an obvious unmet need. Following damage, the progressive loss of cardiac function derives from largely unknown molecular, cellular and interstitial modifications that manifest clinically as changes in size, mass, geometry of the heart, known as cardiac remodelling. The objectives of the research group with whom the student will work are to develop and apply leading-edge single cell ‘omics’ technologies to address clinically relevant and basic biological questions pertinent to the cardiovascular system. The long-term goals are to:
1. Develop novel molecular tools as dynamic biomarkers of cardiac remodeling.
2. Identify therapeutic targets to prevent progression of cardiac disease to heart failure.

The central hypothesis underlying this and future studies is that not all cardiac remodelling in heart failure is created equal and differs in regard to transcriptional activation and changes in subpopulation prevalence that are specific to its aetiology. A ~€1,850,000 grant was awarded with joint contributions from the British Heart Foundation and German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) to define the cellular and molecular landscape of healthy reference cardiac tissue and the changes occurring in cardiomyopathies. Selected targets will be validated using human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPS-CMs). By studying human disease samples and hiPS-CMs, this project will aim to define and validate paracrine circuits that impinge on cardiomyocytes function and survival.

Imperial College London is a world-class university providing outstanding opportunities for research students. The Graduate School ensures a full training programme in research and transferable skills, the quality of which has been repeatedly recognised in the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards.

The student will be based in the section of Cardiac Function and work closely with the Cardiac Genetics’ groups within the National Heart and Lung Institute, a lively environment bringing together world-leaders in cardiovascular biology, genetics and clinicians. The projects evolve in an interdisciplinary fashion with particularly close exchanges with the Chemistry and biomaterial depts. A proactive approach with collaborators from the Cellular Genetics at the Welcome Sanger Institute as well as the Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin in Berlin and Harvard University will further ensure constant interaction with an international and energetic scientific network.

We are looking for an enthusiastic, engaged and dedicated member of the team with initiative and willingness to tackle challenging scientific questions for the understanding of cardiovascular disease.

How to Apply

Applicants must hold, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second-class undergraduate degree or UK equivalent, along with an MSc, both in an appropriate subject from a recognised academic institution. To apply please send a CV, a one page personal statement, and the names and addresses of at least two academic referees to Dr Michela Noseda by email at .

Please note that candidates must fulfil College admissions criteria.

Application deadline: 20 September 2019

Funding Notes

The studentship will be funded for 3.5 years with a tax-free bursary of £18,000 pa. Tuition fees at the Home/EU rate will also be paid.

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