MRC MRes/PhD Studentship- Pulmonary Neutrophils as Generators of Autoimmunity in Rheumatoid Arthritis



Reference Code: CL073

Name of the supervisors
Dr A. De Soyza, Institute of Cellular medicine

Professor J. Simpson, Institute of Cellular medicine

Professor John Isaacs, Institute of Cellular medicine,

Sponsor
The Medical Research Council (MRC)

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

Project description
This exciting translational medicine project will study how inflammatory lung diseases promote autoimmunity. Bronchiectasis (BR), a chronic lung inflammation syndrome characterised by excessive neutrophilic inflammation and is linked with Rheumatoid arthritis. We have shown a 10-fold increase in anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA) levels in idiopathic BR, as compared to controls. Excessive neutrophilic lung inflammation may lead to abnormally citrullinated proteins that are then recognised as neo-antigens promoting auto-immunity.

Our over-arching hypothesis is that bacterial pathogens stimulate airway neutrophils to generate citrullinated proteins that activate structural immune cells in the airway.

The project plan has significant cross-disciplinary training and builds on extensive work and skills in our labs:
a) access to, and extensive experience with bacterial pathogens (De Soyza) and primary human cells (airway epithelium, neutrophils, alveolar macrophages – Simpson),
b) access to well-characterised patients with Bronchiectasis (De Soyza), Rheumatoid arthritis (Isaacs) and healthy volunteers (Simpson). Training will incorporate skills in microbiology, innate immunity, basic biochemistry & genetics and translational. The successful student will be working within a large and supportive group.

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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.

Personal specification
A bright enthusiastic biomedical science student expected to be awarded Honours degree at upper-second-class Honours degree or above. Bench skills, ability to work under pressure and well within a team are highly desirable.

How to apply
You must complete the University’s 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 CL073. Mandatory fields need to be completed (no personal statement required) but you must attach a copy of your CV and a covering letter. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the reference number CL073 and the title of the studentship and state how your interests and experience relate to the project.

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 A. De Soyza
E-mail: [email protected]

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