Applications are invited from UK/EU students for a four-year PhD studentship funded by a prestigious MRC-CASE studentship scheme in partnership with MedImmune.
The project will study an exciting potential new therapeutic target in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is characterised by epithelial injury, fibroblast proliferation and fibroblast to myofibroblast transformation. Work from our lab has shown that integrin activation of Transforming Growth Factor is a key driver of these processes. Similarly studies from our group have shown that IL-33 levels in IPF are increased and studies in mice have demonstrated that IL-33 can promote fibrosis even in a TGF deficient environment suggesting that IL-33 may have power pro-fibrotic effects. However, the precise mechanism by which IL-33 is regulated and promotes pulmonary fibrosis in humans is unknown. Here we want to define the mechanism of IL-33 regulation and its role in IPF. Initial studies will measure the effect of IL-33 on cells from normal people and patients with IPF and identify the effect of IL-33 on fibrotic pathways in fibroblasts and macrophages. Subsequent studies will look at how IL-33 is generated in epithelial cells and fibroblasts. The successful applicant will finally assess the role of inhibiting IL-33 using in vivo models of pulmonary fibrosis. These novel studies will carefully characterize the role of IL-33 in the lung and define how its regulation may be disrupted and affect the development of IPF.
The studentship will be jointly supervised by Dr Gisli Jenkins (University of Nottingham) and Drs Deborah Clarke and Suzanne Cohen (MedImmune). The individual appointed will join an established and expanding group of young, enthusiastic and highly productive clinical and basic scientists that are well funded and will have direct access to a range of unique laboratory facilities. The applicant will also spend at least 6 months working at the MedImmune site in Cambridge gaining insights into the state of the art facilities available at commercial environments.
Due to the prestigious nature of these awards applicants are required to have a first or upper second class honours degree in biological/biomedical sciences or allied subjects.
The studentship will commence on 1st October 2016 and includes payment of fees at the UK/EU rate with a stipend of £13,726 in 2012/13 which will rise in line with minimum Research Council rates. Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is only open to UK and EU residents.