Vitamin K as a novel therapeutic for multiple sclerosis

  • Application end date: 11th February 2018
  • Funding Availability: Funded PhD project (EU/UK students only)
  • Department: School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr Sassan Hafizi, Dr Asmita Sautreau, Dr Salman Goudarzi

Project code: PHBM3970218

Project description

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease caused by damage to oligodendrocytes, the specialised myelin-forming glial cells in the CNS, thus impairing normal nerve electrical impulse transmission. A greater understanding of the molecular and cellular processes that take place in MS should result in new approaches to promoting remyelination and repair of the CNS for MS therapy. The vitamin K-dependent protein Gas6 has been shown to promote CNS remyelination. However, the exact mechanisms by which Gas6 signalling achieves this is not well characterised. Therefore, the aim of this PhD project is to investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which Gas6 stimulates repair upon demyelination, with a view to targeting this pathway for potential therapeutic application for MS patients.

The student will be trained in a variety of techniques, including working with transgenic and knockout mice, tissue isolation, in vitro tissue and cell culture, molecular expression analyses, HPLC, immunohistochemical techniques, confocal microscopy, and molecular quantification assays. The student will join a research grouping in which two of the supervisors are currently running projects within MS that are funded by the MS Society. Therefore, the student shall also have the opportunity to engage in outreach and public engagement activities, especially in conjunction with the MS Society and the MS community. Also beyond the research group, the student will be part of the vibrant academic research environment within the university’s Institute of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (IBBS), which has international repute in the neuroscience, oncology, and structural biology fields.

In addition to the research project, the PhD student will have access to a well-established and structured skills programme tailored for postgraduate researchers at the University of Portsmouth, known as the Graduate School Development Program. Development of these generic academic skills, together with the variety of experimental and analytical skills gained through the project, will prepare the student well for a future career in academia or industry.

Supervisor profiles

Dr Sassan Hafizi

Dr Asmita Sautreau

Dr Salman Goudarzi

Admissions criteria

You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending upon chosen course, minimum second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific candidate requirements

This laboratory-based project would be suitable for a bioscience graduate e.g. biomedical science, biochemistry, pharmacology or similar.


Informal enquiries are encouraged and can be made to Dr Sassan Hafizi at (02392 842665) or Dr Asmita Sautreau at (02392 843528).

For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact

How to Apply

You can apply online at You are required to create an account which gives you the flexibility to save the form, log out and return to it at any time convenient to you.

A link to the online application form and comprehensive guidance notes can be found at

When applying, please quote project code: PHBM3970218.

Interview date: TBC

Start date: October 2018.

Funding notes

The fully-funded, full-time three-year studentship provides a stipend that is in line with that offered by Research Councils UK of £14,553 per annum.

The above applies for Home/EU students only.

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