Project code



School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Start dates

February and October

Application deadline

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

Visit the research subject area page for fees and funding information for this project.


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).

2022/2023 fees (applicable for October 2022, February and April 2023 start) 

PhD and MPhil

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students 

  • Full-time: £4,596 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 (may be subject to annual increase)

EU students
(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £4,596 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 (may be subject to annual increase)

International students

  • Full-time: £18,300 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £9,150 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2022/23 please visit this page.

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

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.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Biomedical Sciences PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. 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. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.