Funded PhD Studentship: Analysis of Mechanisms Involved in Shear Stress Induced Microparticle Generation and Microparticle Mediated Effects

Swansea University - Life Sciences

*This scholarships is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.*

Ventricular assist devices (VADs) support terminal heart failure patients, by pumping blood to the aorta to relieve strain on heart. Three major complications in VAD-patients are gastro-intestinal bleeding (GIB), thrombosis and infection.  One of the known causes for GIB is the loss of high mol. wt. functional von Willebrand Factor (vWF) multimer due to persistent shear stress generated by VAD. The other complications are the result of damaged blood cells (red, white and platelets) by VAD-generated shear stress. However, the clinical and pathological effects of VAD-generated shear stress on vWF and blood cells are poorly understood. In collaboration with Calon Cardio, we are currently studying the effect of shear stress on the vWF structure and activity (Chan et al Artif. Organs. 38:741-50 [2014]; 39:93-101 [2015]; Artif. Organs. [in press]).  The blood cells exposed to VAD-generated shear stress produce microparticles (MPs) that promote inflammation and coagulation and thereby can contribute to both thrombosis and infection.  However, the cellular signalling pathways involved in MPs’ generation and MPs’ mediated effects are not fully understood.  The aim of this studentship is to determine the cellular machinery necessary for shear stress-induced MP formation and effects.  This study could provide vital information to VAD developers who could modify device design to avoid damaging vWF as well as other blood cells and proteins.

Scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners including SME’s and micro companies, as well as public and third sector organisations. The scholarship provides 3 years of funding with a 6 month period to complete the thesis. The achievement of a postgraduate skills development award, PSDA, is compulsory for each KESS II scholar and is based on a 60 credit award.

Eligibility

Academic requirements:

Candidates should have a 2.1 or above in their undergraduate degree or master degree in Biochemistry/Biotechnology/Biology/ Biomedical or a related subject.

Residency criteria:

They should also be eligible for Home/UK Fees (see http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Fees-and-Money/Wales-fee-status for more information).

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

Wales