Human skin provides a crucial barrier to prevent excessive water loss from the body and to protect against environmental insults, notably ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in sunlight. Epidermal barrier function is maintained by tight junction (TJ) complexes and the hydrophobic, lipid rich stratum corneum. Disruption of barrier function is associated with inflammatory skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. The barrier function of skin declines with age and is influenced by UVR exposure but the impact of ethnicity on these is unknown.
Previous work within the Centre for Dermatology Research at Manchester has shown that epidermal morphology and dermal composition are determined by geographical ancestry and that changes in skin related to ageing and the effect of UVR exposure differ between individuals of different ethnicity. The aim of this project is to examine how ethnicity influences components and function of the skin barrier. Specifically, this project will explore how expression of key components of the skin barrier (e.g. tight junction proteins) differ between individuals of different ethnicity and how these are influenced by ageing and UVR exposure. Findings will add to our understanding of skin biology and may have implications for public health messaging on sunlight exposure and photoprotection, and for the treatment/management of skin conditions where barrier function is compromised.
The successful candidate will join the Centre for Dermatological Research within the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at The University of Manchester, and will benefit from access to a wide range of expertise and excellent research facilities.
Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant biological science. A Masters qualification in a similar area would be an advantage. Candidates should be highly motivated and have an interest in human investigative dermatology. Candidates with experience in this area are encouraged to apply.
For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/). Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select PhD Biochemistry
For international students, we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences. For more information please visit www.internationalphd.manchester.ac.uk