Self-funded PhD students only

Project code



School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Start dates

February and October

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

This is a self-funded, 3 year full-time PhD studentship. The project is supervised by Professor Darek Gorecki and Dr Gianluca Tozzi.

P2X7 is an ATP receptor with a number of physiological functions, which also plays a role in the development of acute and chronic diseases -- such as inflammation, cancer, bone loss and psychiatric disorders.

P2X7 is therefore an important therapeutic target, but P2X7 trimeric subunit organisation and its interacting partners (signalling and scaffolding proteins) can be highly diverse in various cells and pathologies.

Cell-specific and sub-cellular localisation of P2X7 is still controversial. Understanding these multiple modes of action and cell-specific receptor functions is essential for developing targeted and effective treatments.

The work on this project will include:

  • using molecular biology and proteomic methods to identify receptor assemblies and interacting proteins
  • unravelling cellular and sub-cellular localisation of this receptor using confocal and advanced X-ray microscopy
  • functional analysis of specific cells and tissues (such as bone and brain), following cell-specific ablation by Cre recombinase

Given the importance of the P2X7 receptor in health and disease, our laboratory has created a unique P2X7 knock-in/knock-out mouse.

It expresses endogenous levels of tagged P2X7 isoforms, allowing immunoaffinity purification of the tagged P2RX7 followed by mass spectrometry to identify the associated proteins (the “genetic-proteomic” approach, Bienvenu et al, 2010). These tags also allow immunodetection of specific isoforms with anti-tag antibodies in situ.

This mouse P2X7 gene is flanked by loxP sites allowing cell-specific and/or conditional knockouts by crossing this strain with specific Cre recombinase-expressing mice or by targeted expression of Cre recombinase.

This project will take functional analyses to a new level by defining the roles of P2X7 in any desired tissue or at any disease stage in vivo.

Fees and funding

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements

  • A good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject.
  • Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. All applicants are subject to interview.
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Make an enquiry

For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact

How to Apply

To start your application, or enquire further about the process involved, please contact Darek Gorecki on 02392 843566 ( or Dr Gianluca Tozzi on 02392 842514 ( quoting both the project code PHBM3571017 and the project title.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.

You can also visit our How to Apply pages to get a better understanding of how the PhD application process works.

October start

Apply now

February start

Apply now