PhD Opportunity in the Emerging Role of Cardiac Fibroblasts in Heart Physiology and Pathology

University of Surrey

Applications are invited for a 3-year PhD studentship within the Cardiovascular Research Group at the University of Surrey, in close collaboration with research groups at University College London and Cardiff University. Start date is October 2018.

The heart is made up of many different cell types – myocytes which enable contraction, vascular cells which construct the blood supply network and fibroblasts which are traditionally thought to provide structural support. In recent years, however, it has become clear that fibroblasts are not just a passive structural scaffold, but play an active role in heart function, particularly in disease where they become activated and their number increase to >70% of all heart cells.

This PhD project will investigate the so far under explored mechanisms through which fibroblasts communicate with the myocytes and stem cells, and affect cardiac function in the normal heart and in response to cardiac diseases. The novel and exciting approach has the potential to identify new therapeutic targets which manipulate fibroblast contribution to heart function in disease.

The successful candidate will be trained in cardiac electrophysiology, tissue engineering, cardiac stem cell biology, molecular biology and advanced imaging methods. The main methodologies used in this project will be cell culture, western blotting, quantitative real-time PCR, exosome purification and characterisation, immunofluorescence, confocal microscopy, and multicellular electrophysiology methods including multi-electrode arrays and optical mapping.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have: 

  • A first or upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject area including; Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Physiology or related disciplines.
  • UK or European nationality
  • Self-motivation, deep interest in research and ability to think and work independently
  • Fluency in English language and good communication skills
  • An MSc in cardiovascular/molecular science with merit or distinction and/or previous research experience in molecular biology or electrophysiology would be advantageous.

How to apply

Applicants must apply via the University of Surrey online application system. Formal applications can be made through our programme page

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Patrizia Camelliti (

Applications should include:

  • A CV/resume which includes modules taken with grades (or expected grades)
  • A supporting statement highlighting your primary motivation for applying for a PhD studentship and to this project in particular, outlining any research experience and your career ambitions
  • Contact details for two academic referees (include any recent research mentor or supervisor)
  • Certificates and transcripts from all your current/previous degrees
  • Official English Language transcript (IELTS or TOEFL), if applicable


The Studentship is funded by a competitive University Scholarship. Funding covers tuition fees at the Home/EU rate and an annual tax-free stipend of £14,500 per year.

Applicants should have a first-class or upper second-class honours or equivalents in Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Physiology and similar subjects.

This is a partly funded project. The student is expected to pay standard tuition fee and 20% of bench fees. Materials and consumables will be provided from the research projects.

Closing date for applications: Monday 26th March 18

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