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Using gene editing and pluripotent stem cells to investigate cardiovascular cell signalling (SMITHU20DTP)

Project Description

The heart is a multi-cellular organ, with intercellular communication between cardiomyocytes, cardiac fibroblasts, and endothelial cells all necessary to maintain normal cardiac function. It is becoming clear that signalling via extracellular vesicles (EVs) plays important roles in regulation of cardiac function, with dynamic and two-way interactions necessary between the multiple cell populations.

This project will use state-of-the-art gene edited pluripotent stem cell models, to gain new insights relating to the mechanisms involved in regulating cardiac function at rest, and during periods of increased workload. Training will be provided in the areas of stem cell biology, cardiac biology, differentiation, advanced flow cytometry, single cell sorting, RT-qPCR, and CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing. As well as the specific training detailed above, students will have access to high-quality training in scientific and generic skills, as well as access to a wide-range of seminars and training opportunities.

The project will be carried out at the Smith Lab at the Bob Champion Research and Education building, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia. This work will be in close collaboration with the Munsterberg Lab, based at School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia.

Project supervisor:
Project sponsor: Norwich Research Park Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership
Type of programme: PhD
Start date: 1 October 2020
Mode of study: Full-time
Studentship length: 4 years


- First degree (2:1 or above) in relevant subject
- English language (IELTS 6.5 overall, 6 in each section)


This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 7th, 8th or 9th January 2020.

The NRP DTP offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Funding Notes

For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website: View Website. Full Studentships cover a stipend (2019/0 rate: £15,009pa), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

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