|Funding for:||UK Students|
|Placed On:||18th September 2023|
|Closes:||1st November 2023|
The GW4 BioMed2 MRC DTP is offering up to 22 funded studentships across a range of biomedical disciplines, with a start date of October 2024.
These four-year studentships provide funding for fees and stipend at the rate set by the UK Research Councils, as well as other research training and support costs, and are available to UK and International students.
About the GW4 BioMed2 Doctoral Training Partnership
The partnership brings together the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff (lead) and Exeter to develop the next generation of biomedical researchers. Students will have access to the combined research strengths, training expertise and resources of the four research-intensive universities, with opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary and 'team science'. The DTP already has over 90 studentships over 6 cohorts in its first phase, along with 38 students over 2 cohorts in its second phase.
The 80 projects available for application, are aligned to the following themes;
Applications open on 4th September 2023 and close at 5.00pm on 1st November 2023.
Studentships will be 4 years full time. Part time study is also available.
Population Health Sciences
Lung fibrosis is a devastating disease which causes 1% of UK deaths. On average, patients only survive 2-3 years after diagnosis. Ageing is a big risk factor; patients often have unusually short telomeres, correlating with a reduction in sex hormone levels. We will investigate if boosting hormone levels might improve telomere length and reduce disease burden - using data from cutting-edge lab experiments with lung cells, combined with analyses of patient genetics.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a hugely debilitating disease of ageing, which has a dismal prognosis and a 5-year survival of only 20%. IPF accounts for around 5300 deaths each year (1% of all UK deaths). Current anti-fibrotic medications are expensive (£27k per patient per annum) and only slow disease progression, while having limited benefit for quality of life (largely due to a range of unpleasant side effects). New therapies are therefore paramount.
This proposal represents a novel opportunity to help establish the mechanism and potential efficacy of using sex hormone supplementation as a treatment. The project will employ a powerful combinatorial approach of genetic analyses, access to patient samples and cutting-edge in vitro approaches to ascertain how sex hormones may be able to boost telomere length and thereby revert one of the key hallmarks of ageing which may underpin disease development. This is a hugely exciting training opportunity in a wide range of cell and molecular biological techniques and bioinformatics. It has conceptual buy-in from our dedicated patient and public involvement group (PPIEG), and ongoing liaison with our PPIEG will also be an important part of the project.
Work from Dr Anna Duckworth, published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine, provided evidence of a causal role for prematurely-shortened telomeres in IPF using genetic analyses of data from UK Biobank (PMID: 33197388). This indicates an accelerated ageing process – partly explaining the cellular senescence seen in fibroblasts/epithelial cells in IPF lungs.
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