UK: PhD Studentship in Cutaneous Consequences of Fibrillin Microfibril Remodeling at The University of Manchester

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Description: The Institute of Inflammation and Repair invites applications for a 4-year Alliance Boots-funded PhD due to commence October 2014. The studentship covers UK/EU tuition fees, research expenses and provides an annual tax-free stipend at RCUK rates (currently £13,726 p.a). The studentship is open to UK/EU nationals only due to the nature of the award.

It is well established that alterations in the immunohistochemical localisation of fibrillin-rich microfibrils in the papillary dermis of skin is a reliable biomarker of both ultraviolet radiation (UVR)-mediated photoageing and of repair by topical treatments. We have demonstrated that this degradation may be mediated in vitro by the action of UVR and reactive oxygen species (ROS) on disulphide bonded (cystine)-rich elastic fibre components including microfibrils. The aims of the project are: (i) to determine if fibrillin-rich microfibrils extracted from photoaged human skin exhibit damage which is similar to that induced in vitro by UVR and ROS, and; (ii) characterise the potential downstream consequences of fibrillin-rich microfibril degradation for cell phenotype and tissue homeostasis.

The studentship will employ immunohistochemical, biochemical and ultrastructural/micro-mechanical (AFM) analyses to explore the relationship between the effects of photoageing on microfibril structure/mechanical strength and the subsequent structural and mechanical remodeling of ageing skin. The role played by fibrillin-rich microfibril degradation in promoting further tissue degeneration will be established by determining if macro-molecular changes: (i) are capable of promoting phenotypic changes in cultured dermal fibroblasts, and; (ii) play a role in subsequent proteolytic and fibrotic remodeling of the ageing dermal extracellular matrix.

The PhD will be conducted across the Institute of Inflammation and Repair and at the Dermatopharmacology Unit (Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust) and will prepare the successful candidate for onward career progression into postdoctoral research, clinical trials and/or scientific writing.

Eligibility: Candidates are expected to hold a minimum upper-second (or equivalent) undergraduate degree in a relevant biological/medical science area. Previous experience of some of the techniques to be employed in the study would be an advantage as would a relevant Masters qualification.

  • Academic CV
  • Official academic transcripts
  • Contact details for two suitable referees
  • A personal statement (750 words maximum) outlining your suitability for the study, what you hope to achieve from the PhD and your research experience to date.

Any enquiries relating to the project and/or suitability should be directed to Dr Sherratt at the address above. Deadline for applications: Monday 20 January 2014.

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