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The role of the coronary microcirculation in myocardial infarction

   Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences

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  Dr N Kalia  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

About the Project

Background: Adequate microcirculatory perfusion, and not just opening of occluded arteries, is critical to salvage heart tissue following a heart attack / myocardial infarction. However, the degree of microvascular perfusion taking place in these small blood vessels of the heart is not known, limited primarily by an inability to directly image coronary microcirculation in a beating heart in vivo. The Microcirculation Research Group, led by Dr Kalia, has developed a novel method to intravitally image the beating heart coronary microcirculation in experimental models of MI (ischaemia-reperfusion injury). We are now using this model to image multiple microcirculatory perturbations, such as thromboinflammation, vascular density, leakage etc. in the heart in the setting of various co-morbidities such as diabetes, renal failure, psoriasis, ageing etc.

We are offering PhD opportunities for successful candidates to not only explore the full impact of these comorbidities on the coronary microvessels, but also identify novel mechanisms that contribute to these microvascular disturbances.  We are currently focussed on the role the novel IL-36/IL-36R pathway plays in mediating inflammation in the heart microcirculation. In additional, we are exploring vasculoprotective strategies that can potentially prevent damage to these delicate vascular structures such as contemporary and new anti-platelet and cellular therapies. We are also interested in your ideas that can be incorporated into the above projects. The research involves using cutting edge techniques such as intravital, multiphoton and single molecule fluorescence microscopy as well as multi-colour flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry etc. The successful applicant will have access to world class core facilities, providing them with a plethora of in vitro and in vivo skills.  

Candidate: The candidate will join a warm and friendly research group based within the internationally recognised Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences. They will be provided with full support and training in all aspects of their PhD. The candidate should be highly motivated and possess strong time management and written/oral communication skills. Ideally, they should have some experience in, and have a commitment to, cardiovascular, thromboinflammatory or diabetic research. They should hold or realistically expect to obtain at least an Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a relevant Biomedical Sciences subject.  

For information about the research activities in our laboratory, please visit:




Funding Notes

All applicants should indicate in their applications how they intend to fund their studies. The College of Medical and Dental Sciences is a thriving community of home and international Masters and PhD students and so we encourage applications from students of any nationality able to fund their own studies. At present, we would only consider applications from prospective students with:
• a good biomedical degree, with interests in the areas outlined above,
• good command of the English language (outlined in the postgraduate prospectus)
• a source of funding to cover tuition and bench fees”


Kavanagh DPJ, Lokman AB, Neag G, Colley A, Kalia N. Imaging the injured beating heart intravitally and the vasculoprotection afforded by haematopoietic stem cells. Cardiovascular Research 2019; 115:1918-1932.
Kavanagh DPJ, Kalia N. Live intravital imaging of cellular trafficking in the cardiac microcirculation – beating the odds. Frontiers Immunology 2019; 26;10:2782.
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