MPhil/PhD Scholarship Determining the Cellular Mechanisms of Lithium-induced Nephrotoxicity

(Ref: VCS-PHA-01-13)


Lithium is widely used to treat bipolar disorder but is strongly linked to renal toxicity. The burden on the NHS is significant and management limited to treatment discontinuation. This is highly unsatisfactory as lithium is the most effective bipolar treatment. Efforts to determine the mechanism of lithium toxicity have been limited by inappropriate technology and unsatisfactory in vitro models that don’t recapitulate in vivo events. Investigations undertaken to date have relied on post-hoc screening of biopsies taken from patients diagnosed with established renal disease as a result of lithium treatment. This is unsatisfactory since kidney damage that has occurred by this point is irreversible. To date, the sub-lethal events preceding irreversible tissue damage remain unidentified.

To investigate the sub-lethal mechanisms of lithium-nephrotoxicity we will utilize a live kidney slice model (developed in our group) and advanced imaging techniques. This model is well established and has been validated to mimic in vivo renal physiology. Moreover, this experimental model has already yielded promising findings regarding the toxic mechanisms of other known nephrotoxic agents.

The successful candidate will receive a £13726 bursary (years 2 and 3 linked to RCUK Doctoral Stipend rate) plus a contribution towards tuition fees of up to the equivalent of the university’s Home/EU rate for the duration of their scholarship, subject to performance.

Applicants must hold a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours Bachelor’s or Master’s degree (UK or UK equivalent) in a relevant discipline. 

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Applications are sought by the indicated closing date for starting in September 2013.

For further information please contact the supervisor: Dr Claire Peppiatt-Wildman on 01634 888828

For additional information about the studentship and links to the application form please go to: 

The application form should be completed and returned to:  and include: a comprehensive CV and a one page covering letter explaining your interest in the project and how it relates to past experience and present motivations. Attachments should be in PDF or Word format.

The closing date for applications is 12.00 UTC on Tuesday 18 June 2013

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