MRC MRes/PhD Studentship – Developing a Novel Drug Screening Platform for ME/CFS Based on a Greater Understanding of Muscle Dysfunction

Reference Code: CL072


Name of the supervisors
Dr P Manning, Institute of Cellular Medicine

Professor J Newton, Institute for Ageing and Health

Professor C J McNeil, Institute of Cellular Medicine

Medical Research Council (MRC)

Duration of the award
Four years (MRes Medical and Molecular Biosciences followed by a three-year PhD).

Project description
When ME/CFS patients undertake a standard level of peripheral muscle exercise they show marked abnormality of bio-energetic function when assessed using fMRI. Such over-utilisation of anaerobic metabolism pathways will limit capacity to exercise and lead to perception of fatigue. We hypothesise that this energetic abnormality contributes significantly to the expression of fatigue in ME/CFS and that targeting this will result in the amelioration of that fatigue.

This integrated MRes/PhD programme will establish in vitro approaches to exploring the inter-relationship between muscle function, acidosis and fatigue expression with a view to developing treatments to be used in subsequent clinical trials. In vitro studies will assess muscle mitochondrial function, pH (utilising a novel nanosensor approach developed by the applicants) and responsivity to alteration in pyruvate dehydrogenase function. This study will benefit ME/CFS patients through an increased understanding of the mechanisms of peripheral fatigue and approaches to its treatment.

Value of the award and eligibility
Depending on how you meet the MRC’s eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award. A full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of £13,726 (2013/14). A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

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Person specification
You should have, or expect to achieve, a first-class, or upper-second-class Honours degree in a relevant discipline relating to biomedical sciences.

How to apply
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application form selecting ‘Master of Research/Doctor of Philosophy (Medical Sciences)-Cellular Medicine’ as the programme of study. Once you have selected the programme, please insert the studentship/partnership reference number CL072. Only mandatory fields need to be completed (no personal statement required) but you must attach a copy of your CV and a covering letter, quoting the title of the studentship and reference number CL072.

Closing date for applications
Prompt application is advised as this post is only available until a suitable candidate is appointed.

Further information
For further details, please contact:
Dr P Manning
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 222 8520

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