Funding

Self-funded PhD students only

Project code

TBC

Department

School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Start dates

and

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded PhD to commence in October 2019 or February 2020.

The PhD will be based in the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, and will be supervised by Dr Sassan Hafizi and Professor Arthur Butt.

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. However, the CNS contains stem cells such as oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs); these could be activated to proliferate and form new oligodendrocytes as part of a repair response that produces new myelin insulation for damaged nerves. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms that drive oligodendrocyte regeneration could enable ways in which to promote it as part of MS therapy. Gas6 is a vitamin K-dependent protein that activates the TAM receptors, all of which have been implicated as role players in the brain at least during development and remodelling/repair in diseases such as MS. The aim of this PhD project is to investigate the role of Gas6 in promoting repair in demyelinating disease and the molecular mechanisms by which it could achieve this.

The project lies within the neurosciences with a focus towards cell biology and signalling. The student will be trained in a range of cell biological and biochemical techniques, including in vitro cell culture, ex vivo tissue sampling and culture, molecular expression analyses, immunohistochemical techniques, confocal microscopy, and genomic and proteomic analyses. The effects of Gas6 on oligodendrocyte precursor cells will be a major focus, in order to understand their response to this stimulation and subsequent role in remyelination of damaged brain cells. The student will join a collaborative research grouping within vibrant environment of the university’s Institute of Biomedical and Biomolecular Science (IBBS), where all the facilities required for the study are established.

In addition, you will have access to a skills development program run by the university’s Graduate School. The experimental and analytical skills developed during this project will prepare the student well for a future career in academia or industry.

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).

2019/2020 entry

Home/EU full-time students: £4,327 p/a*

Home/EU part-time students: £2,164 p/a*

International full-time students: £15,900 p/a*

International part-time students: £7,950 p/a*

*Fees are subject to annual increase

By Publication Fees 2019/2020

Members of staff: £1,610 p/a*

External candidates: £4,327 p/a*

*Fees are subject to annual increase

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in a relevant subject area. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Sassan Hafizi (sassan.hafizi@port.ac.uk) to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project title.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form and select ‘Biomedical, Biomolecular and Pharmacy’ as the subject area. 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.

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote the project title when applying.

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