PhD Studentship: What Role has the Stem Cell Niche for Skeletal Muscle Stem Cell Function?

University of East Anglia - School of Biological Sciences

Start Date: 1st October 2018

Supervisor: Professor Ulrike Mayer

Project description:

Men and women lose 50% of their skeletal muscle mass in later life through a process called age-related sarcopenia, characterised by a combined loss of muscle mass, endurance and strength. This results in progressive loss in mobility eventually leading to loss of independence in old age. Because of the changing demographics in the UK, where the population aged 80 years and older is predicted to double over the next 20 years, there is a need to study mechanisms of age-related sarcopenia, which lead to intervention strategies designed to reduce muscle loss.

Satellite cells (SCs) are the resident skeletal muscle stem cells and the main contributors to muscle repair, either after injury or in muscle wasting diseases. SCs are quiescent myogenic stem cells, which become rapidly activated upon injury. The SC pool size and its proliferative capacity diminish with age, eventually leading to defective muscle maintenance and repair. SCs are embedded in a specialised niche between the basement membrane and the plasma membrane of the muscle fibre. However, little is known what role this niche plays in regulating activation and self-renewal of SCs, or age-related alterations that may contribute to muscle loss.

We will use in vivo and in vivo experiments to define the role of two integrins, integrin α7 and α5 for SC behaviour, as well as ex vivo single fibre assays and investigate the cellular processes that areperturbed when these transmembrane receptors of SCs are absent.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 9th, 10th or 11th January 2018.

The Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4 year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website: www.biodtp.norwichresearchpark.ac.uk

Person specification: Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

Funding notes: Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,553 pa – 2017/8), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate, and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships, which when combined will equal a full studentship. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements. Details on eligibility for funding on the BBSRC website: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/web/FILES/Guidelines/studentship_eligibility.pdf

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

South East England