PhD Studentship Cardiac ion channel electrophysiology and pharmacology


The project

Modulation of hERG potassium channel function by extracellular acidosis: single channel effects and underlying basis.

The heart is exposed to acidic pH (‘acidosis’) in pathological conditions, including myocardial ischaemia, which occurs during a heart attack. Acidosis predisposes the heart to dangerous arrhythmias by altering cardiac electrical activity. The function of a potassium (K+) ion channel called hERG, which plays an important role in cardiac action potential repolarisation, is altered by acidosis in ways that may influence susceptibility to cardiac arrhythmia [1,2].  At present the underlying basis for these actions is incompletely understood.

This project aims to determine how the hERG channel responds to extracellular acidosis at the single ion channel level and to probe which parts of the channel are involved in the observed modulatory effects. In order to achieve these aims, the project will utilize single channel and whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiological recording from normal and mutant hERG channels.

The results of this study will help provide increased insight into how a clinically significant metabolic disturbance influences the behaviour of an important ion channel in the heart.

The PhD student will join the research teams of Professors Jules Hancox and Neil Marrion, located in the School of Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Bristol.


[1] Du et al, 2010, J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol, 21, 1160-1169

[2] Du et al, 2011, J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol, 22, 1163-1170

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Candidate requirements

Candidates will be expected to have at least an upper-second (2.1) class degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline.


This 3 year PhD studentship is funded by a non-clinical PhD studentship funded by the British Heart Foundation with a standard stipend and dedicated funds available for experimental consumables. Funds are also available for tuition fees at ‘home’ (UK/EEA) rates. Please note that due to funding restrictions UK/EEA Residency requirements apply.

For more information about eligibility criteria, please see Item 11 here:

How to apply

To apply for this studentship submit a PhD application using our online application system, via the ‘Apply’ button below.

Please ensure that in the Funding section you tick “I would like to be considered for a funding award from the Department” and specify the title of the scholarship in the “other” box below. Also ensure that you select Faculty of Medical and Veterinary Sciences, School of Physiology/Pharmacology.


Jules Hancox at:

Neil Marrion at:

Deadline for applications

The closing date for applications is 23 September.

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