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Use of Novel Magnetic Resonance Techniques to Investigate the Effect of Biochemical Environment on Cellular Metabolic Viability

Project Description

This PhD project represents a highly exciting and pioneering development that has the potential to truly revolutionise the use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in assessment of biochemical environment and associated metabolism to probe cellular viability across different in-vivo tissues.

The ionic composition of the cellular microenvironment, particularly Sodium (Na+), appears critical for regulating metabolism. It is possible to block specific Na+ transporters and channels (e.g. VGSCs and NHE1). Combining such an approach with advanced MR imaging represents a novel diagnostic indicator of metabolic function/dysfunction in the body; a crucial tool in modern life sciences and systems biology to understand both health and disease. During this project you will implement:

1 - Novel sodium MR Imaging. You will develop, engineer and implement bespoke radio frequency (RF) resonators/coils specific for preclinical sodium imaging. These will be applied to investigate tissue 23Na concentration is different tissues across the body.

2 – Magnetic resonance targeting of ionic channel blockers. You will learn how the gradient coils which allow imaging in MR can be further utilised to direct/steer magnetised compounds to tissue sites, thus increasing efficacy.

3 - Advanced world leading hyperpolarisation MR techniques. A recent breakthrough hyperpolarisation technique has emerged from the multimillion pound York Centre for Hyperpolarisation in Magnetic Resonance where this project will be based. You will therefore work with us on the application of a highly exciting development that has the potential to truly revolutionise magnetic resonance and clinical treatment of cancer.

You will utilise the above three techniques to probe the ionic microenvironment and its associated effects on cellular metabolism.

During this project the potential research student will gain advanced training in magnetic resonance imaging, coil development and kinetic modelling. The project is underpinned by the large multidisciplinary research program in CHyM that will help ensure we produce a skilled researcher with a broad range of experience. You will learn to design and implement in-vivo experiments on a pre-clinical 7T MRI system, gaining necessary Home Office training for approval as an in-vivo researcher. CHyM’s research students receive wide-ranging support as they learn to interpret their own data and communicate their results through group presentations, conferences and scientific manuscripts (35 from the group in the last 3 years).

This prestigious BBSRC funded Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) brings together the very best molecular, chemical and cellular bioscience research across the White Rose Consortium of Universities (Leeds, Sheffield and York), which maps on to the research themes of the BBSRC. Students will benefit from a regional PhD training programme that has interdisciplinary collaboration at its core. The aim is to enable students to develop a range of research skills in biological and biochemical areas as well as equip them with core mathematical, data analysis and generic professional skills that are necessary for bioscience research in the coming decades. At York, the White Rose Partnership brings together researchers from the Departments of Biology and Chemistry.

Additionally, all Chemistry research students have access to our innovative Doctoral Training in Chemistry (iDTC): cohort-based training to support the development of scientific, transferable and employability skills:

Panel interviews will take place at the University of York on 6 February 2019

The Department of Chemistry holds an Athena SWAN Gold Award and is committed to supporting equality and diversity for all staff and students. The Department strives to provide a working environment which allows all staff and students to contribute fully, to flourish, and to excel:

This PhD will formally start on 1 October 2019. Induction activities will start on 30 September.

Funding Notes

Value: Studentships are fully funded by BBSRC and cover: (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14,777 for 2018-2019, to be confirmed for 2019-2020 but typically increases annually in line with inflation), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.

Eligibility: The studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements. Students from EU countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Further information about eligibility for Research Council UK funding can be found at the following website: View Website

How good is research at University of York in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 47.06

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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