Fully-funded BBSRC Industrial Case PhD Studentship (Full-Time) Biomarkers for the ageing tear film

Professors Roslyn Bill and Brian Tighe (Aston University) and Dr Andrew Broad (Sauflon Pharmaceuticals Ltd)

Applications are invited from ambitious, self-motivated candidates to study the biochemistry and biotechnology of the tear film. This opportunity is open to UK and EU students who have at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree in a biological or chemical science or a related subject.

There is an increasing desire to continue contact lens wear in later years of life and a growing interest in first time contact lens wear amongst the retired population. This studentship opportunity brings together expertise within Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing and Sauflon Pharmaceuticals Ltd to address age-related degeneration of the tear film, which can lead to dry eye and discomfort during contact lens use. The project will focus on the superficial lipid component of the ageing tear film which slows down the evaporation of the aqueous layer and is essential in the maintenance of a coherent tear layer and therefore ocular heath. The project will use multiple techniques at the cutting edge of biotechnology research and development relevant to the tear film, with up to 6 months of the project being spent at Sauflon Pharmaceuticals Ltd, UK. Combined use of biochemical and biophysical techniques (such as Langmuir trough/Brewster angle microscopy and pulsating bubble surfactometry) will enable comprehensive in vitro studies of tear lipids as a function of subject age. Target synthesis of relevant proteins in recombinant yeast cells and extraction in combination with phospholipid will enable study of tear lipid augmentation with these components.

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Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences (LHS) was ranked 3rd out of 63 UK Higher Education Institutions for research in Allied Health Professions and Studies in the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). Additional information about research in the School can be found at http://www1.aston.ac.uk/lhs/research/. Informal enquiries can be made to Professor Roslyn Bill (E-mail: r.m.bill@aston.ac.uk). 

Financial Support:

UK students (including EU nationals who have been continuously resident in the UK for the last 3 years) will receive full tuition fees.  For UK Students only – a stipend will be provided at the current BBSRC rate with annual increments and an additional CASE contribution of £3,500 p.a.  Overseas students are not eligible for funding. To check further into eligibility, please refer to the BBSRC Website.

Application Requirements:

  • Eligible Applicants should hold at least a Bachelor (Hons.) Degree of either First Class or Upper Second Class or hold a Masters Degree (MSc/MRes) in a relevant discipline.
  • EU Applicants will need to demonstrate adequate proficiency in English Language skills, with a minimum score of 620 (260 minimum in computer test) in TOEFL or IELTS with minimum marks of 6.5 in each section and an overall band of 7.0.
  • The Studentship is funded for 4 years, subject to a satisfactory progress review at the end of the first year, and with submission by 4 years is required.

The anticipated Registration date is 1st October 2013.

Enquiries should be addressed to Professor Roslyn Bill (E-mail: r.m.bill@aston.ac.uk; Telephone: 021 204 4274).

To apply please complete the on-line application form  via the Apply button below quoting the Reference ‘CASE-Bill_Tighe’ on all applications.

The Closing Date for applications is: Monday 28th January 2013.

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