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The role of non-coding RNAs in alveolar epithelial damage in pulmonary fibrosis

   School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences

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  Dr Chiara De Santi  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic rare disease characterised by stiffening and scarring of the lung tissue. It results in life-threatening complications such as respiratory failure and ultimately death at an average of three years after diagnosis. Type II alveolar cells (AEC2s) injury and abnormal repair triggers and maintains the fibrotic process, leading to stiffening of the lung, loss of the capacity to exchange gases and ultimately death, however the exact mechanisms underlying this process is largely unknown. Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), namely microRNAs and circular RNAs, are dysregulated in pulmonary fibrosis and might play an active role in alveolar epithelial damage, however the vast majority of the mechanistic data comes from animal models and may not reflect human pathogenesis. An advanced in vitro model of pulmonary fibrosis using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells differentiated towards AEC2s (‘iAEC2s’) has recently been developed and will be employed in this project to investigate the role of ncRNAs in alveolar epithelial injury.

This research will:

• Characterise the expression of microRNAs and circular RNAs in a novel disease-modelling iAEC2 platform 

• Validate their differential expression in primary lung tissues from pulmonary fibrosis patients

• Explore the biological role of the candidate ncRNAs in AEC2 injury using a variety of molecular and cellular biology techniques including but not limited to organoid transfection, qRT-PCR, western blot and flow cytometry

• Embed public and patient involvement principles throughout the project

The Clement Archer Scholar’s PhD programme in the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences aims to give graduates in Pharmacy the opportunity to study for a PhD while gaining experience in teaching and assessment on the undergraduate MPharm programme. Candidates with a background in pharmacy and an interest in translational science and teaching are encouraged to apply. Informal enquiries can be directed to Dr Chiara De Santi ([Email Address Removed]).

Mandatory Requirements:

Upper Second Class (2.1) honours degree (or equivalent) in Pharmacy 

Basic laboratory skills 

Desirable Requirements:

• Experience in teaching.

• Proven ability to work independently and as an effective team member.

• Ability to communicate effectively.

• Strong organisational skills with the ability to produce results and prioritise tasks.

How do I apply?

To apply, please access the following link and complete the application form in full:

-Unfortunately, we are unable to provide individual feedback to applicants.

-Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview. 

-At this stage only successful candidates will be contacted to submit, CV, transcripts and other relevant documentation.

- Only their referees will also be contacted at this stage for a reference.

Applications must include:

(i) a completed application form

(ii) English language requirements – see

Deadline: All applications must be made online by 09 February 2023 (GMT)

It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure the application form is completed in full on time. Late and/or incomplete applications will not normally be assessed. 

Further information on the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland can be found here: 

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