Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) such as heart attacks and strokes constitute the leading cause of mortality in the East Riding of Yorkshire, with a mortality rate for all persons of 166.5 per 100,000 (2008-10). Underlying CVD is the pathology known as atherothrombosis, a complex multi-cellular inflammatory disorder involving blood cells and the blood vessel wall. Central to atherothrombosis is the uncontrolled activation of blood platelets, which is why anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin have been so effective. While current anti-platelet therapy has successfully reduced the burden of disease, arterial thrombosis continues to cause significant mortality leading to a desire for other effective therapeutic interventions.
The aim of this project is to design a platelet specific system for drug delivery and multimodal imaging, based on nanoparticles. Such a system would have great therapeutic benefit due to the reduction in significant side-effects, whilst maintaining the effectiveness in thrombus formation reduction; it would also introduce the ability to image thrombus formation in vivo in real time using MRI and PET scanning. Agents combining therapeutic and diagnostic use in this way are known as "theranostic".
In this project the student will synthesise multimodal MRI/fluorescent nanoparticles conjugated with the platelet specific binding sequence, based on quantum dot / gold / liposome platforms. The student will initially use a range of in vitro techniques in order to demonstrate the specificity of the nanoparticle binding to the platelet, and then demonstrate the effective delivery of the drug to the platelet. Once platelet specific binding, and effective drug delivery has been established in vitro the student will then demonstrate the effect on thrombus formation in vivo, in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the drug delivery system.
This multidisciplinary project will be based in the Calaminus lab (Centre for Cardiovascular Research, Hull campus of Hull York Medical School) for platelet studies and the Stasiuk lab ((Biological, Biomedical and Environmental Sciences) for chemical work. It would suit a student with a background in biochemistry, pharmacology, chemistry, or molecular medicine. It will provide an excellent opportunity to gain training in a wide range of both chemical and biological assays, including drug design, nanoparticle technology, platelet aggregation, thrombus formation assays, immunoblotting, and platelet secretion assays.
Dr Simon Calaminus with Dr Graeme Stasiuk (email email@example.com)
Full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarships will include fees at the ‘home/EU' student rate and maintenance (£13,863 in 2014/15) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.
Full-time International Fee PhD Studentships will include full fees at the International student rate for three years, dependent on satisfactory progress.
28th September 2015
In order to qualify for this scholarship you will require an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.1, or equivalent, in a relevant subject.
HOW TO APPLY
All applications MUST BE submitted to the HYMS Postgraduate Centre via the online application method:http://www.hyms.ac.uk/postgraduate/applying-for-postgraduate-study.aspx
The deadline for applications is the 2nd February 2015.
Please quote HYMS-2014-2 with the scholarship title when applying. In order for the Panel to get a sense of your academic background, commitment and interest, you are required to complete the application form in full and provide a research proposal/outline of academic interest. Research proposals and personal statements may be used in selecting applicants for interview. If you have any queries on how to apply please email
Please note that this is a student scholarship. If you will be employed by HYMS (e.g. on a fixed or short term contract) for the duration of your study, you will not be eligible to receive the student scholarship as a member of HYMS staff. You should contact Victoria Hill in Postgraduate Admissions if you still wish to apply to discuss different options.
The interview date for the scholarship has yet to be confirmed. Applicants who are short-listed for interview will be sent details of the date, time and venue via email. If you are not invited for the interview, it means that your application has not been successful. Please note that we do not offer feedback to applicants who are not invited to the interview.
As soon as reasonably practicable after the interviews have taken place HYMS will write to the successful applicant offering him/her the post. Upon receipt of formal written acceptance of the post we will write to notify unsuccessful candidates. Whilst we try to do this in as effective and efficient manner as possible, sometimes the process can take rather longer than is ideal because of the need to recall candidates for a second interview and reconvene interview panels and/or due to routine disruptions caused by leave and other absences. We apologise for any delay and inconvenience caused in these circumstances.