There is increasing evidence that sterile placental inflammation is an underlying cause of placental dysfunction, and contributes to the pathology of chronic histiocytic intervillositis (CHI), villitis of unknown etiology (VUE), fetal growth restriction (FGR) and stillbirth [1-3]. There are currently no effective treatments for placental inflammation and little work has been done to screen suitable drug candidates, current treatments are based on empirical studies. We have recently identified a role for the NLRP3 inflammasome in mediating placental inflammation [1, 4], and have established a robust ex vivo model in which to study inflammation in placental explants . We now have access to a range of small molecule NLRP3 inhibitors, which have been shown to significantly reduce inflammation in both human and mouse cells [5, 6]. The aim of this project is assess whether these NLRP3 inhibitors represent a safe and efficacious treatment for placental inflammation.
Our objectives are to:
· Screen a panel of NLRP3 inhibitors to identify candidates which reduce one or more markers of placental inflammation in our ex vivo explant model.
· Assess whether reduced placental inflammation is accompanied by an improvement in one or more aspects of placental function.
· Evaluate whether the efficacy of the NLRP3 inhibitors is maintained, when encapsulated into targeted liposomes.
· Examine whether systemic or targeted delivery of NLRP3 inhibitors can improve pregnancy outcome in a mouse model of placental inflammation (e.g. Advanced Maternal Age, Moderately Aged Mouse, eNOS knockout mouse).
This work will inform the development of novel therapeutics to treat the placental inflammation observed in chronic histiocytic intervillositis, VUE, fetal growth restriction and stillbirth.
Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area / subject. Candidates with experience in reproductive medicine or pharmacy are encouraged to apply.
Applicants interested in this project should make direct contact with the Primary Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible.
How To Apply
To be considered for this Studentship you MUST submit a formal online application form - full details on how to apply can be found on https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/
Please select PhD Reproductive Sciences under academic programme when completing your online application.
Please do not submit an application until you have discussed your suitability to the project with the Primary Supervisor
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/equality-diversity-inclusion/