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NIHR Exeter BRC PhD Studentship – Using iPSC-derived Organoid Models to Identify Novel Therapeutic Targets

University of Exeter - HLS

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Exeter
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £18,622
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 28th November 2023
Closes: 12th January 2024
Reference: 5028

Project description:

Microglia are inextricably linked to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis and are now widely regarded as the essential cell type affecting disease progression, but currently no AD treatments specifically target these cells. Furthermore, studying this cell type in situ in human is currently confined to low resolution imaging or post-mortem tissue. Development of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) model brain organoids allow us to study microglial biology in the context of other cell types and in the context of disease through the inclusion of genetic risk variants. This project, aligned with the NIHR Exeter Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), will aim to identify new therapeutic targets aimed at beneficially modulating microglia, and that can be rapidly translated into the clinic. This will be done through a combination of complex cell culture techniques, genetic engineering, genomics, bioinformatics, and imaging enabling the student to develop both analytical and laboratory skills. Drug repurposing strategies or collaborations with external groups including the Drug Discovery Alliance will also support any potential clinical translation. There will also be fantastic opportunities to involve public and patient groups in the evolution of the project and for further specialist development through the attendance on bioinformatics or genetic engineering courses.

NIHR Exeter BRC Commitment

This Studentship will be nested within the National Institute of Health and Care Research Exeter Biomedical Research Centre (NIHR Exeter BRC), hosted by the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with the University of Exeter and in collaboration with South West NHS organisations. The first of its kind for the South West peninsula, the Centres fundamental objective is to improve health outcomes for patients and the public by translating scientific breakthroughs into potential new treatments, diagnostics and medical technologies.

This studentship will provide the opportunity to work with world-leading researchers and have access to state-of-the-art facilities. The NIHR Exeter BRC are committed to developing and nurturing a diverse and rich pipeline of talented researchers by equipping them with the knowledge and skills to excel and contribute significantly to the local and national economy via the delivery of high-quality and impactful translational biomedical research. Expertise will be harnessed from across the partnership to deliver the best possible training and career development opportunities, with the student provided the opportunity to be embedded in a rich research culture, with a growing body of early career researchers.

We are delighted to have already recruited some exceptionally talented researchers at various career stages to our NIHR Exeter BRC, including  Senior Investigator Fellows, Translational Fellows and our first cohort of PhD students who started with us in September.

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