Current postgraduate opportunities

The University of Hull is currently offering 8 PhD studentships through the Hull York Medical School. The studentships will be shortlisted from the 11 projects advertised below. The deadline for application is the 2nd February 2014.

  • The use of geriatric assessment methodology to guide treatment outcomes in cancer patients

    Project Details

    Cancer is a disease that largely affects the elderly, with one third of cancer diagnoses being in patients over the age of 75 years. Treatment decisions are complicated because outcomes may be poorer than in younger patients, and the impact of treatment toxicity greater. Various tools exist to assess elderly patients in other contexts, but they are not frequently used in oncology. This project is around identifying appropriate assessment tools to benefit the outcomes for elderly patients with cancer.

    Treatment rates in elderly cancer patients are lower than those in younger patients. However, age alone is rarely the cause for poorer outcomes in the elderly: there are many other factors which might influence the likelihood of therapeutic benefit, the risk of unacceptable treatment toxicity, and the overall effect of treatment on the patient’s quality of life. In this interdisciplinary project the successful candidate will work with the supervising team and other colleagues (including Dr Dan Harman, Department of Medicine for the Elderly at Hull Royal Infirmary) to  research a basis for improving outcomes in these patients. The first stage will be to conduct a systematic review of the literature to investigate which tools have been tried for the assessment of elderly oncology patients before treatment.

    A feasibility study (“CAMERA”) has already been initiated at the Queen’s Cancer Centre in Hull to explore the value to cancer patients over the age of 70 of a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) which has been used in other areas of healthcare. As this data becomes available for analysis the second part of the project will involve the student determining the relative usefulness of the CGA and other available tools in improving outcomes, for example:

    • Providing evidence to reliably guide chemotherapy dosing, to minimise toxicity
    • Supporting decision making in Multi-Disciplinary Team meetings
    • Providing alerts to clinicians of the need for other interventions to improve the patient quality of life, e.g. nutritional, psychological, social.

    The final part of the project will be to explore and develop new methods and proposals for assessing elderly oncology patients, using the research evidence obtained, and including the usefulness of new technologies, e.g. use of questionnaire completion using online systems or tablet devices.

    Location and Research Culture

    In this interdisciplinary project the successful candidate will work with the supervising team and other colleagues (including Dr Dan Harman, Department of Medicine for the Elderly at Hull Royal Infirmary) to  research a basis for improving outcomes in these patients. 

    Named Academic

    Professor Michael Lind with Dr Anthony Maraveyas and Dr Rhian Gabe (email michael.lind@hyms.ac.uk)

    Funding

    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.

    Start Date

    28th September 2015

    Qualification Required

    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/how-to-apply/applying-for-postgraduate-study 

    The deadline for applications is the 2nd February 2015.

    Please quote HYMS-2014-03 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 emailpostgraduate@hyms.ac.uk.

    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.

    Interview Date

    Applicants who are short-listed for interview will be sent details of the date, time and venue via email within a week of the deadline. 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.

    Interview Outcome

    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.

     
  • Regulation of skeletal muscle stem cell activity by nuclear hormone receptors: implications for skeletal muscle regeneration

    Project Details

    Skeletal muscle is capable of spontaneous repair in response to injury. The regenerative capacity of skeletal muscle is due to a resident population of muscle stem cells called satellite cells. These cells are activated upon muscle damage, proliferate and differentiate, in order to replace the damaged muscle. Growth factors or signalling molecules are known to activate skeletal muscle satellite cells (e.g. vascular endothelial growth factor a, platelet-derived growth factor, insulin growth factor 1,). However, while satellite cells are essential for successful regeneration of skeletal muscle, the molecular mechanisms involved remain unclear. The identification of key molecules which regulate satellite cell activation would open up the possibility of accelerating muscle repair.

    Estrogen-related receptors (ERR isoforms α, β and γ), a sub-family of orphan nuclear hormone receptors, are regulators of cellular and mitochondrial metabolism. Skeletal muscle-specific overexpression of ERRγ can drive metabolic and angiogenic muscle reprogramming in both health and disease. This project will test the hypothesis that ERRγ drives skeletal muscle regenerative capacity via satellite cell recruitment and secretion of growth factors. Identification of underlying molecular mechanisms of satellite cell function could be exploited to develop new therapeutic strategies for promoting myofibre regeneration after injury or in degenerative conditions like ageing and muscle wasting disorders.

    The project will involve a wide spectrum of basic cell and bio-molecular techniques including gene expression, fluorescence / confocal microscopy, histology, protein biochemistry, immunoblotting, immunoprecipitation, cell culture systems and muscle function. In addition, there will be scope within the project to translate biochemical findings with implications for skeletal muscle regeneration to patho-physiological conditions in vivo. Highly motivated students  holding a degree in any biomedical discipline, with previous experience in some of the above techniques and a strong interest in skeletal muscle molecular biology are encouraged to apply.

     

    Location and Research Culture

    The student will join a dynamic research team of PhD students and a research technician with expertise in skeletal muscle molecular physiology. Our group utilises multidisciplinary approaches for identifying molecular mechanisms regulating muscle metabolic remodelling with the aim of preventing or treating muscle damage or wasting. For informal enquires please contact Dr Matsakas.

    Named Academic

    Dr Antonios Matsakas with Professor Khalid Naseem (email a.matsakas@hull.ac.uk)

    Funding

    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.

    Start Date

    28th September 2015

    Qualification Required

    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/how-to-apply/applying-for-postgraduate-study 

    The deadline for applications is the 2nd February 2015.

    Please quote HYMS-2014-5 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 postgraduate@hyms.ac.uk.

    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.

    Interview Date

    Applicants who are shortlisted for interview will be sent details of the date, time and venue via email within a week of the deadline. 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.

    Interview Outcome

    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.

     
  • Investigating the impact of maternal pathophysiology on early embryo development

    Project Details

    The oviduct (also known as the Fallopian Tube) is the site of fundamental processes of fertilisation and early embryo development. Despite its important role in facilitating early development we know very little about the oviduct's internal environment. Because there are practical difficulties and ethical issues around sampling the oviduct in situ, researchers at the Hull York Medical School (HYMS) have recently bioengineered a novel in vitro model of the oviduct, which creates a fluid the composition of which mimics that present in the oviduct in situ.

    This project provides the opportunity for a student to use and expand this exciting model to address fundamental questions including: how does maternal physiology leads to changes in oviduct cell behaviour in a way which modifies the oviduct lumenal environment; and what are the effects of these changes on early embryo development?.

    The successful applicant will investigate the impact of both ‘physiological’ and ‘disease mimicking’ relevant endocrine parameters on the metabolic profile of oviduct secretions in vitro. Subsequent to this the successful applicant will determine how effectively the oviduct secretions support early embryo development. We also plan to use this model to examine the effects and transport of selected toxicological and pharmaceutical compounds on the composition of the oviduct lumen.

    Applicants will need a strong background in biochemistry or a related subject. The student undertaking the project will receive training to use a considerable variety of analytical and cell-based methods, including High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Mass Spectrometry, Nanofluorescent assays, Confocal and Electron Microscopy, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Cell Culture, and in vitro embryo production; previous practical experience in some of these would be desirable though not essential.

    Location and Research Centre

    This project will use slaughterhouse tissue as well as human tissue collected with full informed patient consent. The project will be undertaken in the HYMS Metabolic Research Unit, which has outstanding laboratory facilities and first rate core services, including confocal microscopy and mass-spectrometry. These factors combine to provide an exceptional environment in which to pursue basic, translational and clinical research.

    Named Academic

    Dr Roger Sturmey (with Constantine Simintiras) and Professor Henry Leese (email roger.sturmey@hyms.ac.uk)

    Funding

    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.

    Start Date

    28th September 2015

    Qualification Required

    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/how-to-apply/applying-for-postgraduate-study 

    The deadline for applications is the 2nd February 2015.

    Please quote HYMS-2014-10 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 postgraduate@hyms.ac.uk.

    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.

    Interview Date

    Applicants who are shortlisted for interview will be sent details of the date, time and venue via email within a week of the deadline. 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.

    Interview Outcome

    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.

     
  • Tackling health inequalities: can the public sector make a difference?

    Project Details

     

    The University of Hull is situated in a city of social deprivation, with resulting poorer health outcomes than more affluent areas of the UK.  Indeed there has been a North-South health divide in England for many years, with the gap continuing to widen over the past four decades.  The causes of health inequality are broadly similar across the country and on average, poor health increases with increasing socio-economic disadvantage.  Recent reports, for example by the Institute of Health Equity at UCL, have identified a role for health professionals in reducing health inequalities.  In Hull the Clinical Commissioning Group and other public sector bodies have risen to that challenge and are engaged in a programme of work, Hull 2020, which is seeking to transform local health care focussing on the most underserved and deprived areas. 

    This PhD offers a student with a social sciences background the opportunity to study this health transformation programme and to gain expertise in applied health research by carrying out an applied ethnographic study observing and mapping the process of change.  The student will set this work in the context of the wider literature, and we propose beginning with an evidence synthesis regarding the national and international experience behind the notion that the public sector can impact in this way to improve health outcomes.  He/she will study the theoretical frameworks in the relevant disciplines employed by researchers who have studied change in health care or public sector organisations.  The field work will afford the student the opportunity to be associated with the Hull 2020 project and to conduct work, such as participant-observation, to evaluate the opportunity for health professionals to positively impact on health inequalities.  Key questions will relate to the ways in which Hull 2020 engages with patients and the public, is able to bring together different professional groups and how the evidence relating to change has been utilised.  Work will be carried out with key stakeholders in order to understand how they operate in the local and national policy context; how they plan, implement and measure change, and how they engage with other professionals who are meantime engaged in the everyday business of health care in a city with multiple health and social challenges.

    Named Academic

    Professor Una Macleod (email una.macleod@hyms.ac.uk)

    Funding

     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.

     Start Date

    28th September 2015

    Qualification Required

     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/how-to-apply/applying-for-postgraduate-study 

    The deadline for applications is the 2nd February 2015.

    Please quote HYMS-2014-04 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 postgraduate@hyms.ac.uk.

    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.

    Interview Date

    Applicants who are short-listed for interview will be sent details of the date, time and venue via email within a week of the deadline. 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.

    Interview Outcome

    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.

  • The CD36 interactome: understanding CD36-specific protein interactions in vascular cells

    Project Details

    The membrane glycoprotein receptor CD36 is expressed on a wide range of vascular cells including platelets, endothelial cells, macrophages and myocytes. This pattern of expression reflects its ability to bind a range of ligands and to participate in a wide range of physiological processes, including fatty acid transport, angiogenesis and immune responses.  However CD36 is also recognised to play an important role in blood vessel dysfunction that precipitates heart attacks and strokes. In order to develop drugs that could target CD36 and potentially ameliorate its cardiovascular pathology, it is critical to understand how the receptor functions.

    Our understanding of CD36 biology is confused by its reported association with multiple proteins. Using blood platelets we have found that CD36 activates a group of enzymes called tyrosine kinases, which form part of an "interactome" that informs the cell how to respond to different physiological situations (see Wraith et al. 2013, Blood 122: 580-589; Roberts et al. 2010, Blood 116: 4297-4306). It is unknown if these CD36 interactomes are conserved in other vascular cells.  If common cellular CD36 interactomes could be established, it would allow the design of innovative strategies for targeting CD36 with novel cardioprotective drugs. In this project, the student will determine whether the platelet CD36 interactome is conserved in endothelial cells and examine its role in endothelial dysfunction. The project will involve use of a wide spectrum of basic cell and molecular biology techniques including immunoblotting / immunoprecipitation, flow cytometry, fluorescence / confocal microscopy, proteomics, cell culture and gene silencing. In addition, there will be scope within the project to translate biochemical findings to in vivo physiological assays.

    Location and Research Culture

    The student will join a research team of three post-doctoral fellows, four PhD students and a research technician. The group utilises multidisciplinary approaches for identifying new signalling mechanisms regulating vascular cell function to determine if these newly identified mechanisms can be targets for prevention and treatment of arterial thrombosis associated with cardiovascular diseases.

    Named Academic

    Professor Khalid Naseem (email khalid.naseem@hyms.ac.uk)

    Funding

    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.

    Start Date

    28th September 2015

    Qualification Required

    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/how-to-apply/applying-for-postgraduate-study 

    The deadline for applications is the 2nd February 2015.

    Please quote HYMS-2014-6 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 postgraduate@hyms.ac.uk.

    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.

    Interview Date

    Applicants who are shortlisted for interview will be sent details of the date, time and venue via email within a week of the deadline. 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.

    Interview Outcome

    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.

     
  • How does metformin work?

    Project Details

    Metformin is a drug currently prescribed to around 160 million people globally for type 2 diabetes, and yet we still do not know how it works. Metformin is a first-line treatment because of its improved long-term outcomes compared with other drugs, but unfortunately because of gastrointestinal side effects perhaps as many as one third of patients prescribed it refuse to take it long-term. The goal of the present study is to achieve a more robust account of the mechanism of metformin action, as a necessary prerequisite for alternative similar drugs to be developed.

    One of metformin's actions is to inhibit mitochondrial ATP production, resulting in activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). However recent studies indicate that AMPK is not required for metformin’s key clinical hallmark of suppressed hepatic glucose production (Foretz et al 2010, J Clin Invest 120: 2355-2369). It may depend instead on other signalling properties of adenosine nucleotides. The project will use an analogue-based approach to rapidly screen possible targets. Importantly, secreted ATP acts on a number of purinergic receptors to regulate cellular function and this will be an important new area of investigation for this studentship. To investigate alternative nucleotide sensing and purinergic signalling mechanisms in metformin action, we will compare effects of nucleotide/nucleoside analogues (of ATP, ADP and adenosine) with metformin on cellular and mitochondrial metabolic regulation, physiology and signalling.  Cell metabolism studies will be performed using a variety of bioanalytical approaches developed to study the biochemistry of single embryos, but now widely applied to other cell based systems. 

    Applicants will need a science training which gives them the biochemical and pharmacological background to use analogues of metformin and related drugs to work out which of the possible explanations for metformin action is actually true. Such a conceptual advance, when established, will provide an essential platform to enable rational identification of new medicines to support metformin use.

    Named Academic

    Dr Graham Rena and Dr Roger Sturmey (email roger.sturmey@hyms.ac.uk)

    Funding

    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.

    Start Date

    28th September 2015

    Qualification Required

    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/how-to-apply/applying-for-postgraduate-study 

    The deadline for applications is the 2nd February 2015.

    Please quote HYMS-2014-7 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 postgraduate@hyms.ac.uk.

    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.

    Interview Date

    Applicants who are shortlisted for interview will be sent details of the date, time and venue via email within a week of the deadline. 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.

    Interview Outcome

    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.

  • Acute fluctuations of hyperlipidaemia in patients with type 2 diabetes: effect of exercise and identification of novel biomarkers for cardiovascular risk

    Project Details

    Excessive levels of glucose and lipid in the blood (hyperglycaemia and hyperlipidaemia) are well-recognised risks for atherosclerosis.  Although fasting samples are commonly used for the assessment of lipid and glucose status, there are fluctuations in glucose and lipid levels before and after eating and people spend most of their time in the postprandial state. It is postprandial hypertriglyceridemia and hyperglycaemia which seem to be associated with cardiovascular risk, but it is uncertain whether this was simply due to high average levels or due to fluctuations of lipids or glucose between pre and postprandial states. Our recent work has shown that acute hyperlipidaemia either in patients with insulin resistance or in healthy subjects caused insulin resistance and increased platelet hyperactivity, a marker of atherosclerotic risk. 

    This study aims to examine whether fluctuating hyperlipidaemia has a greater effect than constant hyperlipidaemia on endothelial and inflammatory markers, and their relationship to novel microRNA expression that may identify new biomarkers.

    The effect of fluctuation of lipid levels will be compared to constant hyperlipidaemia during a constant hyperglycaemic state employing a hyperglycaemic insulin clamp technique in patients with type 2 diabetes. In accord with the ectopic fat hypothesis of insulin resistance, these studies will be repeated following 3 months of supervised exercise to determine changes in the metabolic parameters and markers. Lipid infusions will be used instead of a lipid rich meal to avoid variability in gut absorption and to exclude the possible response of intestinal derived incretin hormones and their effect on insulin secretion. Measurements made will include endothelial function using Endopat (small vessel endothelial dysfunction) and flow mediated vasodilatation (large vessel endothelial dysfunction) and various endothelial and inflammatory markers. Insulin resistance is associated with changes in inflammatory markers, so plasma will be used to measure the widest possible range of circulating inflammatory markers, using state-of-the-art Bio-Rad multiplex assay technology under the supervision of Dr Rena. Plasma will be stored at each time point of the study and additional samples taken monthly through the exercise period and stored at −80˚C for microRNA analysis.

    Named Academic

    Dr Thozhukat Sathyapalan with Professor Eric Kilpatrick, Dr Graham Rena and Professor Sean Carroll (email thozhukat.sathyapalan@hyms.ac.uk)

    Funding

    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.

    Start Date

    28th September 2015

    Qualification Required

    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/how-to-apply/applying-for-postgraduate-study 

    The deadline for applications is the 2nd February 2015.

    Please quote HYMS-2014-8 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 postgraduate@hyms.ac.uk.

    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.

    Interview Date

    Applicants who are shortlisted for interview will be sent details of the date, time and venue via email within a week of the deadline. 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.

    Interview Outcome

    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.

  • Body donations for medical science: identifying good practice in the interactions between Medical School Anatomy Unit staff and families

    Project Details

    This doctoral project will examine the extent and nature of the liaison process between Anatomy Unit staff and families of body donors in the period following donation through to disposal. Anatomical bequeathal is the donation of bodies after death for the purposes of medical teaching/research.

    There is considerable literature on the work of Anatomy Unit staff when introducing medical students to anatomical examination. This includes the practical skills of dissection, the management of students’ emotions and the development of professionalism when dealing with cadavers. What is currently under-researched, however, is the ‘hidden work’ that Anatomy Unit staff also do with the family members of body donors. These interactions can occur at a number of stages including during the interim period following donation or during preparation for the cremation of the donated body 3-5 years later. Communication with families clearly occurs when relatives are invited to thanksgiving services, but little is known of the emotional labour, information-giving and practical tasks which the Anatomy Unit staff perform with family members at this time. Furthermore, there are several instances where, due to infection, obesity or timing issues for example, donated bodies are refused on death, which calls for particularly sensitive liaison with family members. In terms of social theory, Anatomy Unit staff must deal at these times with the ‘ontological duality’ of the donated body which moves between cadaver and person.

    The aim of the project is to recognise and acknowledge the ‘hidden work’ of family liaison, to identify good practice and to develop support and training for staff who interact with family members following donation. The development of evidence–based good practice with relatives is particularly important as research indicates body donation often runs in families. The skilled management of positive post-donation experiences for relatives will display institutional recognition of the donor ‘as person’ and hence encourage future familial donations. This is a significant issue as numbers of body bequeathals are in decline.  Methods will include a literature review, document analysis, a national survey of UK Anatomy Units, in-depth interviews with professionals and participant observation of thanksgiving and memorial services. Analysis will follow a grounded theory approach.

    Named Academic

     Dr Julie Seymour with Dr Trish Green and Dr Peter Bazira (email julie.seymour@hyms.ac.uk)

    Funding

    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.

    Start Date

    28th September 2015

    Qualification Required

    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/how-to-apply/applying-for-postgraduate-study 

    The deadline for applications is the 2nd February 2015.

    Please quote HYMS-2014-9 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 postgraduate@hyms.ac.uk.

    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.

    Interview Date

    Applicants who are shortlisted for interview will be sent details of the date, time and venue via email within a week of the deadline. 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.

    Interview Outcome

    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.

     
  • Can exercise restore fertility and embryo health during IVF treatment?

    Project Details

     

    There are many significant adverse health consequences of becoming overweight and obese. One impact that is often overlooked is reduced fertility, and scientific data now indicate that a body mass index (BMI) that is high or very high may significantly reduce the likelihood of becoming pregnant. In addition we have recently discovered that being overweight or obese at the time of conception may change the metabolic activity of the very early embryo in the first week after conception before it has implanted. There is also altered expression of important genes in the embryo. The impact of these early metabolic and genetic changes is unclear, but data from animal models indicates they have the potential to affect the long-term metabolic health of the resulting baby. Since all of the cells in the adult body originate from the 1 cell embryo, a small change at this stage of development could have profound consequences in the resulting offspring.

    This project will investigate whether a programme of maternal exercise training before conception can modify such metabolic changes in early embryos. Overweight and obese women who have failed to become pregnant through IVF will be invited to take part in an 8-12 week structured supervised exercise training and lifestyle programme before the commencement of their next IVF cycle. Using our established suite of non-invasive biochemical assays, we will then determine whether the metabolic health of embryos that are surplus for treatment and donated with full informed consent from such overweight women is improved by a maternal ‘prehabilitative’ exercise training intervention. All research will be carried out in accordance with our HFEA research licence.

    This is a unique, novel cross-disciplinary study, in which the successful applicant will develop expertise in a number of research techniques; including whole body exercise physiology and endocrinology, mammalian embryology, and analytical techniques involving high performance liquid chromatography.

    Named Academic

    Dr Roger Sturmey with Professor Sean Carroll, Professor Henry Leese and Dr Lee Ingle (email roger.sturmey@hyms.ac.uk)

    Funding

    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.

    Start Date

    28th September 2015

    Qualification Required

    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/how-to-apply/applying-for-postgraduate-study 

    The deadline for applications is the 2nd February 2015.

    Please quote HYMS-2014-11 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 postgraduate@hyms.ac.uk.

    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.

    Interview Date

    Applicants who are shortlisted for interview will be sent details of the date, time and venue via email within a week of the deadline. 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.

    Interview Outcome

    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.

     
  • Platelet specific theranostic drug delivery agents

    PROJECT DETAILS:

     

    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. 

    RESEARCH ENIVORNMENT

    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.

    NAMED ACADEMIC

    Dr Simon Calaminus with Dr Graeme Stasiuk (email simon.calaminus@hyms.ac.uk)

     FUNDING

    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.

    START DATE

    28th September 2015

    QUALIFICATION REQUIRED

    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

    postgraduate@hyms.ac.uk

    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.

    INTERVIEW DATE

    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.

    INTERVIEW OUTCOME

    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.

     
  • Defining the role of CD36 in mediating platelet activation by the malaria-causing parasite, Plasmodium falciparum

    Project Details

    Plasmodium falciparum causes the most severe forms of malaria, leading to ~2 million deaths annually. The clinical manifestations occur during the intra-erythrocytic stage of parasite infection, and range from flu-like symptoms to cerebral malaria. Pathogenesis is thought to involve multiple factors, including the sequestration of P. falciparum infected erythrocytes (IEs) in microvessels of specific organs (e.g. brain) and inflammation. At a cellular level the mechanism of sequestration involves the interaction of IEs with both blood platelets and the endothelial cells that line the blood vessel. This occurs through an interaction between host receptors such as the multifunctional receptor CD36 and parasite adhesins found on the surface of IEs, known as PfEMP1.

    While the role of CD36 in malarial pathogenesis has begun to emerge, the precise biochemical mechanisms by which binding of IEs has consequences for CD36 expressing cells remain unclear. In this study we propose a detailed characterisation of the molecular mechanisms involved in CD36-mediated platelet activation by P. falciparum IEs. This may yield novel targets for drug development to control malarial pathogenesis. The student will focus on determining the signalling pathways involved in CD36-mediated platelet activation by both recombinant PfEMP1 proteins and live IEs. In parallel the student will investigate whether parasites that express non CD36-binding PfEMP1 variants associated with severe malaria can also mediate platelet activation.

    This work provides an excellent opportunity to gain research training in a wide range of molecular and cell biology techniques, including recombinant protein production, immunoblotting / immunoprecipitation, ELISA, immunofluorescence, confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, P. falciparum in vitro culture, and platelet specific assays. 

    PhD students at Hull York Medical School follow modules for research and transferable skills development and gain a Masters level Certificate in Research Training, in addition to their research degree.

    Location and Research Culture

    The student will join a collaborative team between Dr Arman (expert on malaria and pathogen-platelet interactions) and Prof Naseem (who leads an established platelet signalling research group that currently consists of three post-doctoral research scientists and four PhD students).

    Named Academic

    Dr Monica Arman and Professor Khalid Naseem (email khalid.naseem@hyms.ac.uk)

    Funding

    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. 

    Start Date

    28th September 2015

    Qualification Required

    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/how-to-apply/applying-for-postgraduate-study 

    The deadline for applications is the 2nd February 2015.

    Please quote HYMS-2014-1 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 postgraduate@hyms.ac.uk.

    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.

    Interview Date

    Applicants who are short-listed for interview will be sent details of the date, time and venue via email within a week of the deadline. 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.

    Interview Outcome

    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.