The human hair follicle is a unique mini organ that undergoes cyclical patterns of active growth and apoptotic driven regression referred to as the hair cycle. Hair growth is effected by epithelial mesenchymal cross talk between the germinative epithelium and the mesenchymal derived dermal papilla (DP) to give rise to the hair matrix which undergoes lineage restricted differentiation to form the hair fibre and associated root sheaths. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) can be derived from both dermal fibroblasts and epidermal keratinocytes and can be differentiated down a wide range of differentiated cell lineages. In this project we aim to make iPSC and use these cells to generate epithelial hair follicle cell lines to generate in vitro 3D models of the hair follicle.
We will make use of both temporal control of growth factors and the influence of mesenchymal factors to generate lineages from the iPSC. Cell lineages will be characterized by gene array, qPCR, FACS and high content image analysis. We will use sophisticated 3D systems to model complex in vivo relationships between the lineages and engineer novel in vitro hair follicle models and use these models to investigate hair biology both in health and disease and in particular to investigate lineage restricted differentiation of the epithelial compartment.
This project is in partnership with Unilever R&D and incorporates an industrial training placement. Extensive training will be provided in the generation and analysis of iPSC using cell sorting, FACS analysis, gene array, high content image analysis and both simple and complex 3D organotypic culture.
ELIGIBILITY AND APPLICATION
The four year studentship is funded jointly by the BBSRC London Interdisciplinary PhD Programme and Unilever R&D. It covers UK/EU tuition fees and an annual minimum tax-free stipend of £16,057 plus an additional tax free stipend from Unilever of £4,000 p.a. The project is due to commence October 2016 and is open to UK/EU* nationals only due to the nature of the funding.
Applicants should hold (or expect to obtain) a minimum upper-second honours degree (or equivalent) in biology, biochemistry, genetics or a related biological/medical science area. A postgraduate degree in a relevant subject would be desirable, as would basic cell and molecular biology skills and an interest in tissue engineering.
For more information regarding the project, please contact Prof Mike Philpott in advance of the deadline.
For more information about the programme, eligibility or the application process please contact the programme administrator - [email protected]
Keywords: Hair, follicle, iPSC, induced, pluripotent, stem cell, organotypic