National Heart & Lung Institute (NHLI)

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  Please note that candidates must fulfil College admissions criteria.

Application deadline: Monday 1 December 2014, 10am


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