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Towards Clinical Imaging of Inhibition of Mucus Degradation in Respiratory Diseases

Project Description

Airway mucus plugs cause airway obstruction in patients with airways disease, such as cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis. Little is known about the effects of therapy on plug composition, airway ventilation or clinical outcome. Mucin (a major component of the plug) degradation is critical for plug clearance but in vivo methods monitoring this are lacking. We hypothesise that these changes in plug physical properties can be captured by 23Na MRI methods and propose to apply multi-scale 23Na MRI for this purpose. We will use the 9.4T scanner to tune up the relevant 23Na contrast at the molecular level using ex-vivo sputa samples of healthy volunteers and patients with bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis pre- and post-intervention (carbocysteine/nebulised DNAse/ivacaftor) to translate to novel 23Na whole body lung imaging in health and disease using whole body 7T at Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, Nottingham. We complement results of these finding with mathematical modelling, by adapting rheological models of non-Newtonian fluids, and access to the impeccable clinical infrastructure available in Nottingham Pathology Node and Nottingham NIHR Biomedical Research Centre to ensure wider interdisciplinary impact on patient health.

Supervisors: Professor Alan Knox (Respiratory Medicine, City Hospital, Nottingham Pathology Node, Nottingham NIHR Biomedical Research Centre), Professor Dominick Shaw (Respiratory Medicine, City Hospital, Nottingham Pathology Node, Nottingham NIHR Biomedical Research Centre), Dr Richard Graham (Mathematical Sciences, Nottingham)

Funding Notes

travel and laptop allowance for UK applicants.
Application details at IMPACT DTP website: View Website
Fully funded studentships are available for UK applicants. EU applicants who are able to confirm that they have been resident in the UK for at least three years before October 2019 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.

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