PhD Studentship - Defining Xenobiotic Metabolism in the Oral Mucosa using a Tissue-engineering Approach

University of Sheffield - School of Clinical Dentistry

This studentship offers the opportunity to work on a PhD project within the Integrated Bioscience Group at the School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield. The group undertakes leading research into mechanisms of oral diseases and advancement in drug delivery and therapy. The use of in vitro tissue-engineered models of the oral mucosa to study these processes is of particular interest to the group.

Xenobiotic compounds can be described as external foreign molecules that interact with our tissues and cells. These foreign molecules need to be removed in order to maintain a healthy status and certain organs of the body, such as the liver and skin, contain enzymes that are able to deactivate xenobiotic compounds by converting them into usually less toxic molecules called metabolites. Some xenobiotic metabolites are relatively harmless and can be secreted in the urine and sweat, whilst others can cause toxicity that can lead to tissue damage. The abundance and location of xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes in the oral mucosa is largely unknown. However, pharmaceutical companies are now very interested in the presence and activity of these enzymes in the epithelium because they are instrumental in the detoxification of drugs and there is a move in industry to deliver therapy via the skin or oral mucosa. One possible advantage of the discovery of the enzymes is the opportunity to use the enzymatic activity to convert an inactive pro-drug to an active metabolite for chemotherapeutic purposes. This has the advantage of localising therapy to target cancer cells.

In this project we aim to measure the expression and activity of xenobiotic metabolising enzymes and the quantity of their metabolites in the biopsies of human oral mucosa or tissue-engineered oral mucosa grown in the laboratory. Drugs will be investigated for enzymatic conversion into active drugs in normal and cancer tissue models.

Entry Requirements

Candidates must have a first or upper second class honors degree or significant research experience.

Funding Information

Covers fees and stipend

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Northern England