Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences (MVLS)

EPSRC Studentships

APPLICATION DEADLINE: MONDAY 28 AUGUST 2017

Stipend: 14,553 (2017/18 rate)
Start date: 1 October 2017

Overview and How to Apply

MVLS/EPSRC PhD positions are available within the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow. Our aim is to deliver high quality, collaborative research and training for our PhD students within the Biosciences. The West of Scotland is a key region in the UK for academic excellence, industrial support and investment.

Areas of research include (but are not restricted to) mathematical biology, bioenergy, synthetic biology, nanobiology and research into healthcare devices. A list of available projects, abstracts and supervisors can be found below. We strongly recommend that students examine the list of projects available (detailed below), and contact potential supervisors to discuss the projects before applying. Please note that in step 6 within the online application process, you are asked to detail supervisor/project title information. Projects available are detailed below. 


Applicant Instructions

These are 3.5-year PhD studentships. The financial package will include a 3.5-year stipend, approved University of Glasgow fees, Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) and a conference allowance. Please read the details outlined below before commencing the online application process, which is available here: How to apply for a research degree  Students will also participate in our outstanding skills training programme throughout their studies.

Eligibility

Qualifications criteria

Applicants applying for an MVLS/EPSRC studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a first or upper second class UK honours degree or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology.

Residence criteria

The MVLS/EPSRC grant provides funding for tuition fees and stipend for UK and *EU nationals that meet all the required eligibility criteria.

*Note that EU nationals must be able to demonstrate that they have resided in the UK for three years prior to commencing the studentship. If not, EU nationals are still able to apply to the programme, but would be eligible to receive a ‘fees only’ award.

How to Apply

You can apply here. Within the application, at the programme of study search field option, please select ‘MVLS/EPSRC – Studentship’.

Please ensure that the following supporting documents are uploaded at point of application:

  • CV/Resume
  • Degree certificate 
  • Language test (if relevant)
  • Passport
  • Personal statement  (This should provide any other required information in support of the application, such as evidence of previous academic or professional experience that qualifies you for the programme (projects; placements; voluntary work etc). You should state the reasons why you selected this programme and what benefit you hope to achieve through successful completion of the programme. The statement should include information about lab techniques you have used and research projects in which you have been involved. The statement should not be longer than one A4 page.)
  • Reference 1 (should be from an academic who has a knowledge of your academic ability from your most recent study/programme)
  • Reference 2 (should be from an academic who has a knowledge of your academic ability)
  • Transcript

General enquiries regarding the programme and application procedure should be directed to Alexis Merry: Alexis.Merry@glasgow.ac.uk


Determination of schistosomiasis environmental contamination and potential intervention strategies

Supervisors:
Dr Poppy Lamberton - Poppy.Lamberton@glasgow.ac.uk
Dr Stephanie Connelly - Stephanie.Connelly@glasgow.ac.uk
Dr Cindy Smith - Cindy.Smith@glasgow.ac.uk

Abstract:
Schistosomiasis affects >240 million people, reducing children’s physical and cognitive development and causing severe morbidity including liver fibrosis and cancer in adults. Schistosoma mansoni miracidia hatch from eggs in human faeces when excreta enter fresh water. Miracidia infect snails and reproduce releasing thousands of cercariae that burrow into humans on contact with contaminated water. Mass treatment is the current control strategy, yet across Africa, where pit latrines and open defecation are commonplace, intensities remain high. Locally appropriate sanitation solutions are urgently required to reduce transmission and prevent reinfection. This PhD brings together a world-leading multidisciplinary team with expertise in schistosomiasis (PL), environmental engineering (SC) and microbiology (CS) to enable:

1) seasonal quantification of S. mansoni in soil and water surrounding pit latrines using qPCR coupled with characterisation of total microbial communities and select environmental parameters to identify correlations with S. mansoni environmental abundance;
2) laboratory characterisation and optimisation of low-cost intervention strategies including anaerobic digestion and pasteurisation of sewage, and, UV treatment and biofiltration of water, to inactivate S. mansoni eggs, miracidia, and cercariae alongside common local pathogens;
3) field trials of the optimised sanitation system(s) in Mayuge District Uganda.

Results will directly inform transmission models and future interventions.


Developing physiological 3D in vitro tissue models for rheumatology research

Supervisors:
Prof Margaret Harnett - Margaret.Harnett@glasgow.ac.uk 
Dr Miguel Pineda - Miguel.Pineda@glasgow.ac.uk 
Prof Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez - Manuel.Salmeron-Sanchez@glasgow.ac.uk

Abstract:

Synovial fibroblasts (SFs) provide the required stromal support in healthy joints, but can adopt a pathological role in rheumatoid arthritis (RA; 0.5m UK sufferers) perpetuating inflammatory joint destruction. By directly modifying disease progression, interventions targeting SFs would offer safer non-immunosuppressive therapeutics. However, there is still an alarming lack of therapeutics targeting SFs. This is because current in vitro platforms inevitably lead to misleading results, since they are plastic 2D surfaces that cannot recapitulate the spatially complex 3D multicellular and extracellular matrix (ECM) microenvironment of the arthritic joint.

Our preliminary data demonstrate that murine SFs cultured in 3D ECM scaffolds adopt a specialised subset differentiation and polarised anatomical distribution reflecting the in vivo situation. We therefore plan to further develop this model to advance our understanding of the impact of ECM-mediated signaling on SF inflammatory responses. Following this, we shall translate this model to a humanized platform to develop more physiological working systems and microenvironments to understand SF-dependent inflammation in RA and other human stromal diseases, like asthma or cancer. Achievement of our goals will be promoted by the formation of our new multidisciplinary team comprising research groups from the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation and the School of Engineering.