The Peter May Arthritis MRes/PhD studentship - Biomechanical sensing in cartilage ageing and disease
Osteoarthritis (OA) results from a micro-damage to cartilage and propagates via the subsequent repair/damage events. The remodelling capabilities of tissue decrease with age, leading to increased OA susceptibility following injury related trauma. Interestingly, investigation of biomechanical responsiveness of chondrocytes themselves is a relatively recent topic and the reaction of cells to the abnormal extracellular matrices remains largely unknown. This PhD project will aim to establish a biomechanically relevant 3D in vitro model of young and aged cartilage and test the reaction of cells to different extracellular environments. The resulting in vitro system will generate new knowledge about the mechanosensitivity of the chondrocyte and provide a platform for further studies of potential therapeutic interventions for cartilage disorders in a relevant in vitro setting.
The successful applicant will benefit from a supervisory team that brings together expertise in cartilage biology, functional genetics and applied bioinformatics. Both supervisors are PIs in the pan-European EU-FP7 SYBIL research consortium bringing together the expertise of 18 cartilage and bone biology research centres. The group also enjoys a collaborative link with the CIMA (Centre for Integrated research into Musculoskeletal Ageing) project and the Musculoskeletal Research Group (MRG) at Newcastle University. The PhD student will receive extensive training in histology, cell culture, “omics” technologies, biomechanics, biochemical assays, statistical analysis and project management, thus obtaining a desirable and transferable skillset.
Sponsor: JGWP Foundation
The funding covers one year MRes followed by a three year PhD. The full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of £13,986 (2015-2016). Funding is restricted to Home/EU fees only.
You must have, or expect to achieve, a first-class or upper-second-class Honours degree or international equivalent, in a biological subject e.g. genetics, biomedical sciences, immunology, biochemistry or cell and molecular biology.
This award is available to UK/EU students only. If English is not your first language, you must have IELTS 7 with at least 6.5 in the written component, or equivalent.
How to Apply:
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application form - http://www.ncl.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/. Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:
• insert the programme code 4850F in the programme of study section
• select ‘Master of Research/Doctor of Philosophy (Medical Sciences)’ as the programme of study
• insert the studentship code CL083 in the studentship/partnership reference field
• attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code CL083 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project