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Understanding the contribution of the inflammatory response to the development of atrial fibrillation after cardiac surgery (AFACS)

  • Full or part time

    Prof M Perretti
    Prof B O'Brien
    Dr H Lashin
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, February 07, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

We are seeking applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in October 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter, in inflammation science.

Supervisory team: Dr Dianne Cooper, Prof Mauro Perretti, Professor Benjamin O’Brien and Dr Hazem Lashin

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is one of the most common sustained heart rhythm disorders worldwide and the most common adverse event in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Identifying new prevention and treatment strategies to curb its incidence and prevalence is of significant health and economic importance. The mechanisms behind the development of AF after Cardiac Surgery (AFACS) are not well understood and likely to be multi-factorial. Pre-operatively these patients commonly have a chronic inflammatory state due to ongoing cardiac disease and other inflammatory comorbidities such as atherosclerosis. This pro-inflammatory status, together with raised peripheral counts of innate immune cells in these patients and a link between cardiac neutrophil infiltration and development of arrhythmia is suggestive of an inflammatory contribution to AFACS development.

This project will focus on several areas, including:
• Investigation of neutrophil and monocyte phenotype and function in whole blood of patients undergoing CABG at multiple time points pre- and post-operatively by multi-colour flow cytometry and ex vivo flow assays to establish novel fundamental research in CABG patients.
• Selected OMICs analyses in purified cells to unveil potential new signatures predicative of AFACS development.
• Correlation of immune cell phenotype and function with clinical endpoints (the development of AFACS) in patients undergoing CABG.

The student will benefit from access to a unique cohort of patients undergoing CABG surgery as part of the Tight K study led by Prof O’Brien. A wealth of clinical data will be readily accessible including demographics, medical and medication histories, clinical blood analysis and imaging data as well heart rhythm data from time of operation to five days post-operative. This studentship aims to complement these investigations by unveiling the inflammation-mediated contribution to the development of AFACS in patients recruited to the Tight K study. These investigations will facilitate identification of potential biomarkers associated with development of AFACS in post CABG patients that will aid prevention and/or early treatment to reduce the risk of development of AFACS.

This studentship will be hosted within the Centre for Biochemical Pharmacology at WHRI, where there is a long track record of supervising and delivering PhDs in cutting edge inflammation research. The student will also be part of a cutting edge research environment at the William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London. They will have opportunities to attend and present their work at relevant scientific conferences. For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend at RCUK rates for 3 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study.

Funding Notes

The Trustees of The Medical College of Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital Trust (MCSBHT) have offered funding for three research studentships (two in medicine and one in dentistry), for clinically qualified candidates within the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry to commence in October 2020, leading to a PhD degree.

Funded studentships will be open to potential students with a clinical qualification and GMC / GDC registration at any career stage below consultant. They will be funded for three years at current, MRC rates. Studentships will include PhD fees (at home/EU levels) and up to £6000 pa for consumables. Further consumables / funding for travel may be available on application.

How good is research at Queen Mary University of London in Clinical Medicine?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 144.11

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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