Postgraduate funded opportunities

How emerging environmental contaminants affect the airways

To celebrate the University of Hull's research successes, the University of Hull is offering a full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarship or International Fees Bursary for candidates applying the following project.




Project description

Environmental pollutants such as diesel exhaust particulates, ozone and cigarette smoke can contribute to the development, exacerbation and progression of respiratory pathologies, including asthma, chronic cough, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), fibrosis and cancer. Emerging environmental contaminants include the ultrafine particles present in 3D printer dust, nanoparticles associated with the growth of nanotechnology and microplastics released by cosmetics and clothing.

The aim of this project is to identify how emerging environmental contaminants aberrantly affect the airways. This will ensure that we have a clear and pre-emptive understanding about how respiratory diseases evolve and progress.

The student will apply novel cell and tissue models of the human airways recently developed in Hull and measure changes in airway tone, secreted proteins and gene/protein expression caused by acute/chronic exposure to known and emerging environmental contaminants.

The data generated will help to identify the molecular and cellular mechanisms that link emerging environmental contaminants to the development, exacerbation and progression of chronic lung diseases in exposed and susceptible individuals.

Recommended reading

Toskala & Kennedy 2015 International Forum on Allergy and Rhinology 5:S11-6; Gatford et al 2017 J Reprod Immunol 123:88-93.

Applicants should have at least a 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant scientific area, or related discipline, together with relevant research experience. It is anticipated that the successful applicant will have a 1st class undergraduate degree or Masters level qualification.

How to apply

To apply for this Scholarship, please apply through the University of York online application system and choose 2018 October, full-time.


Full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarships will include fees at the ‘home/EU' student rate and maintenance (£14,553 in 2017/18) 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.

PhD students at the University of Hull follow modules for research and transferable skills development and gain a Masters level Certificate, or Diploma, in Research Training, in addition to their research degree.

Successful applicants will be informed of the award as soon as possible and by 1st August 2018 at the latest.