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PhD Studentship: Elucidating the Role of Lipids in Fibrotic Capsule Formation at the Surface of Implanted Medical Devices

University of Nottingham - Medicine

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Nottingham
Funding amount: See advert for details
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 12th February 2024
Closes: 30th April 2024
Reference: MED1994

Project Description: Elucidating the role of lipids in fibrotic capsule formation at the surface of implanted medical devices.

Implanted medical devices are crucial in healthcare, valued at around £400 billion globally, however there is a high failure rate, often due to the foreign body reaction, where a fibrotic capsule forms around the implant with associated inflammation, loosening and infection. Currently the methods to combat foreign body reaction focus on preventing protein buildup to avoid immune activation, but this hasn't successfully prevented capsule formation in the clinic.

However, in March 2023, a new theory suggested that the presence of lipids on the surface of the implant could influence the foreign body reaction. Also, that the types of material used for implants control their presence at their surfaces and how these fats influence the immune response. Specific phospholipids and free fatty acids have been linked to preventing or promoting the formation of fibrotic capsules respectively. [Schreib et al Advanced Materials 2023]

This research project will compare the lipid profile on the surface of removed medical devices (like chest drains, plates, and intraperitoneal tubes) to their fibrotic response during use. Coupled with understanding of the foreign body reaction, this will guide the development of materials, with the aim to create future implant materials that resist capsule formation, reducing long-term inflammation and infection.

This project will provide multi-disciplinary training in analytical science, cell biology/immunology, biomaterials, tissue models and fundamental aspects of inflammatory diseases.

The student will be able to work within well-funded and vibrant groups with support from several postdoctoral researchers. They will interact with a variety of fundamental, translational, and industry-led projects, as well as with partners in the Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre (https://nottinghambrc.nihr.ac.uk/) including clinicians with opportunity of spending periods of time in our collaborators’ laboratories.

The student will be registered within the School of Medicine and will have access to facilities in Schools of Life Sciences and Pharmacy.

Funding notes: The three-year PhD studentship covers tuition fees and a tax-free stipend. Due to funding requirements, only applications from domestic students will be accepted.

Supervisors:

Prof Morgan Alexander (Professor of Biomedical Surfaces, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham)

Prof Benjamin Ollivere (Professor of Orthopaedics Trauma Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham) 

Prof Amir Ghaemmaghami (Professor of Immunology and Immuno-Bioengineering, School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham)

Dr Dong-Hyun Kim (Associate Professor of Analytical Bioscience, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham)

Application Details: To apply for this PhD opportunity, please submit the following documents to Joe.Bass@nottingham.ac.uk

  • Cover Letter outlining your research interests and motivation to pursue this project.
  • Curriculum Vitae detailing your academic background, research experience and relevant skills.

Entry Requirements:

At least a 2.1 Honours degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Pharmacy, Biomedical Engineering, Biological Sciences, Bioengineering or any related disciplines.

Start DateOctober 2024

Informal inquiries can be made to: Joe Bass, Joe.Bass@nottingham.ac.uk

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