Phd Studentship: Bile Acid Synthesis in the Pathogenesis of non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Liver Cancer

Oxford Brookes University - Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

3 Year Full Time studentship

Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU

Closing date: 12 January 2018 (midnight UK time)

Start Date: September 2018

Value p.a.: Bursary of £14,500 (for 2017/18) and fees.

Main supervisor: Dr Laura Gathercole

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the hepatic manifestation of obesity and metabolic disease. Not only is NAFLD associated with a significant increase in liver and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, it significantly increases the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The rising global obesity epidemic has hastened the need to identify novel pathogenic mechanisms in the search for innovative and effective treatments.

We know that bile acid synthesis is disrupted in patients with NAFLD and, as bile acid signalling is cytoprotective, we hypothesise that this promotes hepatocellular injury and leads to carcinogenesis. Combining cell culture and in vivo models, state-of-the-art 3D live cell and electron microscopy, and molecular techniques this project will determine how alterations in bile acid metabolism impacts on key pathogenic processes in NAFLD, including mitochondrial function, mitophagy, apoptosis, and genomic stability.

Supervised by Dr Laura Gathercole (Oxford Brookes Bioimaging Unit) and Prof Jeremy Tomlinson (Oxford University) the student will be embedded within a research community that includes basic scientists, expert microscopists, and clinicians.

Key words: 

For informal enquires please contact Dr Gathercole.

As part of their Studentship, any successful applicant will be required to undertake up to 6 hours undergraduate teaching/demonstrating a week during semesters on undergraduate practicals without further remuneration. Training will be given.

Contact: Dr Laura Gathercole (

Requirements: Applicants should be of the highest quality and capable of submitting a PhD thesis within 3 years. Applicants should have a first class or upper second class (minimum 2.1) honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or an acceptable equivalent qualification. EU Applicants must have an IELTS Academic test certificate with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued since 12th January 2016 by an approved test centre. We will consider alternative acceptable evidence of English Language ability.

Application procedure:

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