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Understanding the cellular mechanisms underpinning the loss of bone homeostasis in inflammation and ageing to identify novel therapeutic targets

   Institute of Inflammation and Ageing

About the Project

We are seeking talented, motivated students with a passion for research to join the research team led by Dr Amy Naylor: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/staff/profiles/inflammation-ageing/naylor-amy.aspx

Bone turnover and remodelling is critical for the maintenance of bone health. Many diseases associated with inflammation and ageing feature dysregulation of bone turnover with increased bone loss and a decrease in bone generation and repair. The outcome for patients is loss of joint function and bone fragility.

Dr Naylor’s lab seek to understand the normal processes that underpin bone formation and remodelling to identify new therapeutic targets to increase bone formation and repair. They have a particular interest in working at the interface between scientific disciplines and using cutting edge technology from the chemical, engineering, and computer sciences in combination with molecular biology and cell biology techniques to answer these complex biological questions.

The Naylor lab is part of the wider Rheumatology Research Group within the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham. They use in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo models of inflammation and age-related bone loss to understand the normal and pathological processes that drive damage in these diseases.

Examples of ongoing projects include:

• Understanding the role of novel cell receptors in mediating osteoblast-endothelial cell communication to control the rate of bone formation during development and age-related bone loss.

• Identifying the mechanisms that drive the differentiation of synovial fibroblasts into pathogenic bone-resorbing cells, to identify therapeutics to prevent loss of joint function in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

• Development of an organotypic bone-cell culture system and high throughput screening platform to support discovery of novel therapeutics that boost bone formation.

We combine imaging novel in vitro (from cell lines, healthy individuals or patients), with systems biology approaches to large omics datasets (e.g., RNAseq, metabolomic or proteomic data) and murine models of acute or persistent inflammation and age or hormone-related bone loss.

PhD projects, using these approaches, answering translationally relevant research questions are available to self-funded or scholarship-funded graduates interested in joining the Naylor laboratory.


Self-funded or scholarship-funded graduates interested in joining Dr Naylor’s laboratory can select one of 3 different routes for undertaking a PhD in the field of Inflammation and Ageing.

Applicants with research experience and/or Master’s degree should apply directly to the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing for either a 3 or 4 year full-time PhD – https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/research/med/inflammation-ageing.aspx. This route requires applicants to submit a drafted research proposal.

Applicants seeking additional research experience or who have yet to complete a Master’s degree should apply to the 4 year Integrated Doctoral Training Programme in Life Sciences for Health, which combined a MRes and PhD – https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/pgr/idtp/index.aspx.

Applicants will need to submit the following documentation during the application process.

• Detailed CV, including your nationality and country of birth;

• Covering letter highlighting your research experience/capabilities and why you wish to undertake a PhD in the team;

• Names and addresses of two referees;

• Copies of your degree certificates with transcripts written in English;

• Evidence of your proficiency in the English language, if applicable.

• Evidence of scholarship application/funding or independent funding.

Funding Notes

Applicants are invited from self-funded or scholarship-funded graduates ONLY

Applicants should have a first or upper second-class degree in a relevant scientific discipline. Applicants should be self-funded or have applied for, or secured funding for their studies from their government, employer or associated charitable organisations.

Overseas graduates require IELTs of 6.5 overall.

Applying directly to the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing for either a 3 or 4 year full-time PhD – View Website.
Applying to the 4 year Integrated Doctoral Training Programme in Life Sciences for Health, which combined a MRes and PhD – View Website.


University of Birmingham offers pre-sessional English Language courses through the Birmingham International Academy – https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/international/bia/presessional/index.aspx

For additional information on postgraduate studying at University of Birmingham please click - https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/study/postgraduate

For additional information on research at the College of Medical and Dental Sciences please click – https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/mds/index.aspx

For additional information on research in the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing please click – https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/inflammation-ageing/index.aspx

For additional information on research within the Rheumatology Research Group please click - https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/inflammation-ageing/research/rheumatology-research-group/index.aspx

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