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The induction of beige fat with non-viral gene delivery to treat the metabolic syndrome

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

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  • Full or part time
    Prof M Symonds
    Dr J Dixon
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Obesity is a condition of excess fat mass with negative health effects that is very difficult to alleviate. Most dietary interventions have limited effect with ~15% of cases effectively losing weight. Different approaches are required, of which one is to promote energy expenditure. The body contains ~100g of brown fat that when activated can generate ~300 times more heat per gram than any other organ. In addition, there is beige fat that possess brown and white characteristics and can be activated by to produce heat. Enhanced brown/beige fat is thus an effective way to reduce white fat deposition and prevent obesity. A safe way to convert white to brown/beige fat in obese patients would have positive health effects on many conditions including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. We therefore aim to use a novel, safe and cost effective method of gene therapy of a powerful regulatory protein in fat, which can activate brown fat. Converting white into brown fat will be the first step in a pioneering program using genetic medicine to prevent obesity.

Industry partner Locate Bio Limited

Funding Notes

The studentships will commence in October 2020, and a stipend (£15,009 for 2019/20) and fee waiver for 3.5 years is available for UK applicants, plus research training support grant, travel and laptop allowance.

Fully funded studentships are available for UK applicants. EU applicants able to confirm that they have been resident in the UK for at least three years before October 2020 may also be eligible for a full award. EU students who are not able to prove that they meet the residency criteria may apply for a fees only award.

Interviews take place week commencing 17 February 2020.

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