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Understanding the Biological Properties of Medicinal Maggot Secretions (Ref: SF20/APP/MCDERMOTT2)

  • Full or part time
    Prof A McDermott
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Medicinal maggots have long been used to promote healing of skin wounds. Their beneficial effects are, at least in part, due to secreted molecules that facilitate tissue rejuvenation, and that have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory actions. A small number of molecules in maggot secretions have been identified but the picture is far from complete. Therefore the purpose of this project is to determine both the metabolomic and proteomic profiles of secretions from medicinal maggots and identify and characterise specific components that exert the various aforementioned biological activities. Identification of the active components in maggot secretions is essential to allow individual (or a panel of) molecules to be formulated for pharmaceutical use that will eliminate the need for live maggot therapy. This will allow the range of tissues that can be treated with maggot secretions to be expanded from skin to multiple other body surfaces both internal and external for which application of live maggots is inappropriate. Thus, in the future patients with a range of diseases and conditions, not just skin wounds, will be able to benefit from treatments based upon medicinal maggot secretions.
The focus of the project will be on identifying components within the maggot secretions that mediate biological activities that lead to healing of skin wounds and healing of other epithelial surfaces, in particular the cornea of the eye. The project will utilise state of the art omics technologies, mammalian cell culture and cell and molecular techniques such as RT-PCR, gel electrophoresis and enzyme immunoassay

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications should include a covering letter that includes a short summary (500 words max.) of a relevant piece of research that you have previously completed and the reasons you consider yourself suited to the project. Applications that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 1st July for October start, or 1st December for March start
Start Date: October or March
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

any enquiries, please contact Prof Alison McDermott ()

Funding Notes

Please note, this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend; the studentship is available to Students Worldwide. Fee bands are available at View Website . A relevant fee band will be discussed at interview based on project running costs

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