Postgraduate funded opportunities

Project details

Title: α-synuclein and SNARE complex. A new component of the platelet secretion machinery

A British Heart Foundation funded PhD studentship position is available to study the signal transduction pathways that regulate the function of blood platelets.

About the project

Platelets play a key role in the cessation of bleeding in response to injury, but also contribute to vascular inflammation and arterial thrombosis. At sites of vascular damage platelets adhere to the exposed extracellular matrix to form a primary haemostastic plug. A critical element of this response is the release of platelet cargo from α-granules, dense granules and lysosomes. The importance of granule secretion in haemostasis is evidenced by the bleeding diathesis in patients with Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome and gray platelet syndrome. α-synuclein is a small, highly conserved presynaptic protein that plays a key role in vesicle transport in neuronal cells, but its function in platelets remains elusive.

Using platelets from healthy volunteers and genetically modified mice, this project will examine the role of α-synuclein in platelet function using a wide variety of methodologies, such as PCR, flow cytometry, fluorescence and intravital microscopy, and proteomics. The successful candidate will also receive formal Home Office Licensee Training PIL. This project is part of an ongoing collaboration between Dr Aburima (HYMS), Prof Naseem (University of Leeds) and Prof Buchman (Cardiff University), and therefore the student will have access to state-of-the-art laboratories to support their project.

As part of Student Development Programme, the student will have weekly progress meetings with their supervisor; however, additional formal Thesis Advisory Panel meetings will be scheduled at approximately 6-month intervals. In addition, the student will be enrolled on the Postgraduate Training Scheme (PGTS) to attend a variety of training courses provided by the University of Hull to enhance their generic and professional skills.  The student will have the opportunity to present results of the study at National and/or International conferences as appropriate.

For informal inquiries, please contact Dr Ahmed Aburima by email on or Prof Khalid Naseem on

Location and research culture

Hull York Medical School’s unique partnership brings together the expertise of both the Universities of Hull and York and offers a thriving environment in which to conduct world-leading research. Strong partnerships with NHS Trusts and community health organisations offer a wide clinical base within which to study those conditions that most affect our communities – improving their health while developing research work that can be applied nationally and globally.

The School’s academic and clinical researchers at have a strong reputation for their work, 85% of which is classed as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014). Their research is advancing improvements in healthcare – treatment, diagnosis and care – improving the health of people locally and impacting national and international health agendas.

The student will join a dynamic research team and thriving community of graduate students from the UK and overseas in the Centre for Atherothrombosis and Metabolic Disease at the University of Hull. Many students also study in our laboratories at local hospitals across the city. This gives our students unparalleled access to the facilities, academic and clinical expertise to thrive in their research. 

Named academic

Dr Ahmed Aburima (PhD supervisor), Independent Research Fellow in Cardiovascular Biology; Email:

Prof Khalid Naseem (Co-Supervisor), Professor in Cardiovascular Biology; Email:


This 3 year studentship is fully funded by the British Heart Foundation and will commence in October 2019. The student will receive a minimum tax-free stipend of £24,319 per annum and home UK/EU fees for 3 years. This studentship is open to UK /EU citizens. Non-EU applicants may still apply for the position but in case of acceptance of the position they will be required to pay the additional fee for international students. 

Start date

1 October 2019

Qualification required

In order to qualify for this position, you will require an undergraduate degree 2.1, or a Master’s degree, in a relevant subject (Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Pharmacology, Pharmacy or related discipline). English Language requirements apply where applicable. IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in all.

How to apply

All applications must be submitted to the Hull York Medical School Postgraduate Centre via the online application method on the University of York website. Please choose '2019 October, full-time' in your application.

The deadline for applications is the 12 July 2019.

Please quote 'Hull York Medical School' 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 Hull York Medical School (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 Hull York Medical School staff. 

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