National Heart & Lung Institute (NHLI)

CF Trust logoIdentifying biomarkers of bacterial behaviour associated with chronic Pa persistence in patients with cystic fibrosis

3yr PhD studentships commencing February 2015 as part of the CF Trust Strategic Research Centre for Pseudomonas Research

Applications are invited from candidates with a Master’s degree (or equivalent experience) in Biological Sciences or a related discipline.

Two studentships will be funded for 3 years with tax free bursaries from £22,278 per annum. Tuition fees at the Home/EU rate will also be paid.

These projects are for two of 5 studentships funded through the CFT Strategic Research Centre for Pseudomonas research led by Professor Jane Davies, Imperial College London (www.cysticfibrosis.org.uk/research-care/research/about-cystic-fibrosis-research/how-we-invest-in-research/strategic-research-centres/src-1). The SRC seeks to improve detection, understanding and treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a major pathogen infecting the lungs of patients with the life-limiting inherited disease, cystic fibrosis.

These projects seek to determine factors which enable the pseudomonas bacteria to persist in the CF airway allowing increased understanding of mechanisms and possible identification of patients at high risk of poor clinical outcomes. There are two main areas of focus:

Project A: Physiology of chronically infecting bacteria

The student will be based in the labs of Drs Huw Williams and Jake Bundy and co-supervised by Prof Jane Davies; using a number of technologies including metabolomics and transposon sequencing, this project seeks to identify bacterial behaviours which are associated with long term survival and thus linked to an adverse prognosis. The project will utilise the large bank of clinical strains collected within the clinical service and will link closely to clinical researchers studying host-bacterial interactions.

Project B: Quorum sensing and biofilm formation

The student will be based in the labs of Profs Paul Freemont and Alain Filloux and co-supervised by Prof Jane Davies. The formation of biofilm is one of the major persistence mechanisms of P. aeruginosa, but we lack assays to detect this and potentially to stratify disease within patient cohorts. This project will take forward novel assays designed by this group to detect bacterial cell-to-cell signalling, both within organisms (c-di-GMP) and in biological samples such as sputum and bronchoalveolar lavage (acylhomoserine lactones). It will link into the SRC-funded project at Southampton University seeking to develop novel antibiofilm therapeutics.

Both these projects will synergise with the others within the SRC based on new detection systems and novel, non-antibiotic based treatments.

Imperial College London provides an exciting environment, with state of the art facilities and excellent opportunities for PhD student training including research seminars and journal clubs. In addition, the institute provides extensive collaborative opportunities with other research groups.

All students will belong to Imperial’s Graduate School which provides a comprehensive Professional Skills Programme and has received the Times Higher Award for Outstanding Support for Early Careers Researchers in 2006 and 2008.

How to Apply
Applicants must hold, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second-class undergraduate degree or UK equivalent, along with a Masters or relevant experience, in an appropriate subject from a recognised academic institution. Anyone wishing to discuss further details, please contact Prof Jane Davies (j.c.davies@imperial.ac.uk). To apply, please send a CV, a one page personal statement (to include whether you are interested in one or both of these projects), and the names and addresses of at least two academic referees to Gina Rivellini (g.rivellini@imperial.ac.uk). Please note that candidates must fulfil College admissions criteria.

Application deadline: Friday 21 Nov 2014, 5 pm

Committed to equality and valuing diversity. NHLI is also an Athena Silver SWAN Award winner and Imperial a Stonewall Diversity Champion.

BHF logoMicroRNAs and muscle wasting in heart disease

3yr British Heart Foundation funded PhD Studentship

Applications are invited from candidates with a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Biological Sciences or a related discipline, for a 3 year PhD studentship to investigate “MicroRNAs and muscle wasting in heart disease”.

A significant proportion of people with chronic diseases, including respiratory and heart diseases, lose skeletal muscle mass and become weak making it difficult for them to perform everyday tasks and reducing their quality of life. However, not all people waste to the same degree suggesting that there are factors that contribute to the susceptibility to muscle wasting. The mechanisms driving this muscle wasting are not fully understood and the factors contributing to susceptibility remain unknown.

We have identified a microRNA (miRNA) patterns that are associated with muscle mass and function in patients with respiratory diseases. These miRNA patterns appear to suggest mechanisms promoting muscle wasting and potential causes of individual susceptibility to wasting but the mechanisms by which these miRNAs promote muscle wasting and susceptibility remain to be confirmed.

This project will use in vitro methods to identify targets for these miRNAs and the mechanisms by which they regulate muscle mass. We will then determine whether the miRNA patterns and pathways identified are also altered in the skeletal muscle of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension in whom muscle wasting is a significant co-morbidity and in rodent models of heart failure and pulmonary arterial hypertension.

The studentship will be funded for 3 years with a tax free bursary of £22,278 for the first year rising to £26,057 in the final year. Tuition fees at the Home/EU rate will also be paid. Overseas applicants are not eligible for this award.

The student will work within the group of Dr Paul Kemp. The group is based within the Molecular Medicine section of the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, at the South Kensington Campus.

The National Heart and Lung Institute provides an exciting environment, with state of the art facilities and excellent opportunities for PhD student training including research seminars and journal clubs. In addition, the institute provides extensive collaborative opportunities with other research groups.
All students will belong to Imperial’s Graduate School which provides a comprehensive Professional Skills Programme and has received the Times Higher Award for Outstanding Support for Early Careers Researchers in 2006 and 2008.

How to Apply

Applicants must hold a first or upper second-class undergraduate degree or UK equivalent, along with a Masters at merit or above (if applicable), both in an appropriate subject from a recognised academic institution. To apply please send a CV, a one page personal statement, and the names and addresses of at least two academic referees to Paul Kemp by email on p.kemp@imperial.ac.uk  Please note that candidates must fulfil College admissions criteria.

Application deadline: Monday 1 December 2014, 10am

Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/p.kemp

Committed to equality and valuing diversity. NHLI is also an Athena Silver SWAN Award winner and Imperial a Stonewall Diversity Champion.

CF Trust logoImproving methods for early, non-invasive detection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in patients with cystic fibrosis

3yr PhD studentship commencing February 2015 as part of the CF Trust Strategic Research Centre for Pseudomonas Research 

Applications are invited from candidates with a Master’s degree (or equivalent experience) in Chemistry, Biological Sciences or a related discipline. The studentship will be funded for 3 years with a tax free bursary from £22,278 per annum. Tuition fees at the Home/EU rate will also be paid.  

The project is one of 5 studentships funded through the CFT Strategic Research Centre for Pseudomonas research led by Professor Jane Davies, Imperial College London (www.cysticfibrosis.org.uk/research-care/research/about-cystic-fibrosis-research/how-we-invest-in-research/strategic-research-centres/src-1). The SRC seeks to improve detection, understanding and treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a major pathogen infecting the lungs of patients with the life-limiting inherited disease, cystic fibrosis. 

This project takes a cutting-edge approach to the non-invasive detection of the bacterium using mass spectrometry-based technologies on exhaled breath (and condensate), urine, saliva and skin secretions. The student will work within the group of Dr Zoltan Takats in the Department of Surgery & Cancer, Faculty of Medicine and will be co-supervised by Professors Jane Davies, Eric Alton and Andrew Bush from the National Heart & Lung Institute; all three are clinical academics at the National Heart and Lung Institute and Royal Brompton Hospital, the largest cystic fibrosis centre in Europe. In addition, the student will benefit from periods of time in the departments of two European collaborators: Professors Paolo Montuschi (University of Rome) and Peter Sterk (University of Amsterdam) are experts in breath research and will provide invaluable input into this project. By the end of the studentship, we aim to have determined the optimal samples and technology for detecting Pa in the lungs of CF patients. The project will synergise with the others within the SRC based on virulence mechanisms, biofilm formation and new treatments.

Imperial College London provides an exciting environment, with state of the art facilities and excellent opportunities for PhD student training including research seminars and journal clubs. In addition, the institute provides extensive collaborative opportunities with other research groups.

All students will belong to Imperial’s Graduate School which provides a comprehensive Professional Skills Programme and has received the Times Higher Award for Outstanding Support for Early Careers Researchers in 2006 and 2008.

How to Apply

Applicants must hold, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second-class undergraduate degree or UK equivalent, along with a Masters or relevant experience, in an appropriate subject from a recognised academic institution. Anyone wishing to discuss further details, please contact Prof Jane Davies (j.c.davies@imperial.ac.uk). To apply, please send a CV, a one page personal statement, and the names and addresses of at least two academic referees to Prof Zoltan Takats (z.takats@imperial.ac.uk). Please note that candidates must fulfil College admissions criteria.

Application deadline: Friday 21 Nov 2014, 5 pm

Committed to equality and valuing diversity.  NHLI is also an Athena Silver SWAN Award winner and Imperial a Stonewall Diversity Champion.

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Committed to equality and valuing diversity.
We are also an Athena Silver SWAN Award winner and a Stonewall Diversity Champion.

Athena logo

Stonewall Diversity Champion