MRes/PhD Studentship

Identifying Key Changes in Early Rheumatoid Arthritis that Drive Development of Disease and Joint Destruction

Reference Code: CL059


Name of the supervisor(s)

Professor J Isaacs, Institute of Cellular medicine (ICM)

Professor T Cawston, Institute of Cellular medicine (ICM)

Professor A Rowan, Institute of Cellular medicine (ICM)


Helen McCardle PhD studentship.

Duration of the award

4 years (MRes/PhD Medical Sciences).

Project description

Identifying key changes in early Rheumatoid arthritis that drive development of disease and joint destruction.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects 1% of the population in the UK and is a severe and debilitating disease. Although recent advances in treatment means that many patients are well controlled the disease needs to be diagnosed promptly and the relevant and effective treatment prescribed.  This is difficult and for some patients there are delays in diagnosing the disease and initiating the correct treatment which leads to uncontrolled inflammation and subsequent loss of bone and cartilage within the joint.

The Musculoskeletal Research Group within the Institute of Cellular Medicine at Newcastle University have a range of ongoing projects that aim to allow early diagnosis. This project will complement these studies and will aim to identify the cytokines that switch on and perpetuate the disease and then examine the downstream signalling pathways that could be blocked allowing the identification of new therapeutic targets. The focus will be on early markers of disease that detect those patients who will develop joint damage in order to initiate effective treatment before this damage occurs. 

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The student will join a lively and enthusiastic team. Newcastle Musculoskeletal Research is recognised internationally with a EULAR Centre of excellence Award in 2010 and hosts the Arthritis Research-UK Centre of Excellence in Tissue Engineering, MRC/ABPI Immunology and Inflammation Consortium (RA Map) and is a partner in both the MRC/Arthritis Research-UK Centre for Integrated research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA) with Liverpool and Sheffield, and the Arthritis Research UK Centre of Excellence in Rheumatoid Arthritis Pathogenesis with Glasgow and Birmingham.

Value of the Award and Eligibility

The award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of £13,590 (2012/13).

Person Specification

Applicants should have received a first-class or upper second-class Honours degree for their undergraduate degree and have a broad training in cell and molecular biosciences.

How to Apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application form inserting the reference number CL059 and selecting ‘Master of Research/Doctor of Philosophy (Medical Sciences) – Neuroscience’ as the programme of study. Only mandatory fields need to be completed (no personal statement required) and a covering letter, CV and (if English is not your first language) a copy of your English language qualifications must be attached. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the reference number CL059 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project.

You should also send your covering letter and CV by email to or

Closing date for applications 

Prompt application is advised as this post is only available until a suitable candidate is appointed.

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Further Information

For further details, please contact:
Professor A Rowan
Professor J Isaacs

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