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  The role of inflammatory cytokines on macrophage cytoskeletal structure and function in diabetes and cardiovasular disease

   PhD Opportunities

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  Dr Stuart Savill, Prof Stephen Hughes  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The Maelor Academic Unit of Medical & Surgical Sciences (MAUMSS) is a novel initiative by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), and is designed to encourage and support research within the Health Board and to promote academic activity, basic science and clinical research across North Wales (UK) and beyond. MAUMSS is located in Wrexham (North Wales, UK) and staffed by an interdisciplinary team of academics, clinicians, scientists and postgraduate students who are available to lead on and help other healthcare professionals develop and run all kinds of clinical research projects. It has several laboratories containing state-of-the-art molecular, analytical and diagnostic equipment. There are also meeting rooms, video-conferencing and hot-desk facilities too. All of this is available for use to encourage new researchers (promote lifelong learning and continuous professional development), help maximise research impact and ultimately provide better outcomes for patients and the public.

As part of its formal collaborative partnership with Wrexham Glyndwr University (WGU), MAUMSS has been instrumental in conceiving, developing and subsequently delivering an Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) accredited BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science, an MSc Biomedical Science and two IBMS approved MRes programmes in Applied Biomedical Sciences Research and Applied Clinical Research. MAUMSS, in collaboration with WGU, also deliver successful MPhil and PhD (including Professional Doctorates) programmes. To date, these academic programmes have been very successful and continue to grow and have provided the opportunity for the development of new academic programmes, which further strengthens the well-established collaborative partnership between BUCHB and WGU.

PhD Project


The development of Type 2 Diabetes leads to the dysregulation of a number of physiological parameters including TNF-α and IL-1α. We have shown that increasing levels of these inflammatory cytokines in differentiated THP1 macrophages alters tropomyosin expression in a manner similar to that observed in patients with Type 2 Diabetes. It is anticipated that these changes to tropomyosin expression will affect cytoskeletal structure and function, leading to alterations in macrophage motility, adhesion and invasion. Altered macrophage motility and adhesion will then lead to an increased rate of atheromatous plaque formation (cardiovascular disease).


The aim of this study will be to determine whether increased levels of inflammatory cytokines reduces tropomyosin expression, actin filament formation and stress fibre abundance in macrophages, leading to altered cell motility, invasion and adhesion.

As part of your PhD you will be registered with Wrexham Glyndwr University (Wrexham, North Wales, UK) and based at BCUHB-MAUMSS.

NB: A small contribution toward tuition fees of up to £1500 per year may be provided for this study.

Biological Sciences (4) Medicine (26)


Savill SA et al (2016). Inflammatory Adipokines Decrease Expression of Two High Molecular Weight Isoforms of Tropomyosin Similar to the Change in Type 2 Diabetic Patients, PLoS One. 2016 Sep 20;11(9):e0162908. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162908.
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 About the Project