Self-funded PhD opportunities

Vitamin K as a novel therapeutic for multiple sclerosis

  • Application end date: Applications accepted all year round
  • Funding Availability: Self-funded PhD students only
  • Department: School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr. Sassan Hafizi, Prof. Arthur Butt and Dr. Paul Cox

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. This laboratory-based project would be suitable for a bioscience graduate e.g. biomedical science, biochemistry, pharmacology or similar. The project will employ in vivo, in vitro and in silico components. Specifically, the student shall be trained in a range of techniques, including working with an in vivo mouse model of MS and with transgenic and knockout mice, tissue isolation, tissue and cell culture, molecular expression analyses, immunohistochemical techniques, confocal microscopy, molecular quantification assays, and in silico molecular docking analysis. Support and training will be given through supervisory and research staff in the lab, as well as potentially in an expert collaborator lab elsewhere in the UK.

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 Biomedical and Biomolecular Science (IBBS), where notable research achievements have been made in 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 at the University of Portsmouth, tailored for postgraduate researchers, known as the Graduate School Development Program. Development of these generic academic skills, together with the variety of experimental and analytical skills through the project, will prepare the student well for a future career in academia and industry.

Research group website:

http://www.port.ac.uk/institute-of-biomedical-and-biomolecular-science/cell-biology-and-pharmacology/sassan-hafizi/

Funding notes:

This PhD opportunity is available to self-funded students. Bench fees may apply. For more information please contact the project supervisor.

How to apply:

To apply or make an enquiry, please visit postgraduate research: Biomedical, Biomolecular and Pharmacy

All applications should use our standard application forms and follow the instructions given under the ‘Research Degrees’ heading on the following webpages: http://www.port.ac.uk/application-fees-and-funding/applying-postgraduate/#rd.

When applying please note the project code - PHBM3030217