PhD Studentship – Development of Zebrafish Models to Study Cellular Senescence

Supervisor: Ilaria Bellantuono, Steve Renshaw


The number of individuals over the age of 65 years is steadily increasing and will represent 1 in 4 people in the UK by 2050. This will result in a substantial increase in the number of people affected by chronic diseases. For this reason there is a need to better understand how people age and find ways to keep older people healthier for longer.

With age, cells accumulate damage to a point where they are no longer able to work well. This process is called senescence. We know that if the senescent cells are removed, degenerative diseases of older people such as cataracts and muscle weakness are blocked. With this project we want to determine whether it is possible to find drugs to remove senescent cells and prevent disease.

We propose to develop zebrafish models of senescence. Zebrafish as well used models of human disease, being similar to humans yet being genetically manipulable, and suitable for high-throughput drug screening. This studentship will work at the interface between the the MRC – Arthritis Research UK Centre for Integrated Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing and the MRC Centre for Developmental and Biomedical Genetics and will have access to the facilities of both centres, including active collaborations and the possibility of placements at the University of Newcastle and Liverpool and industrial partners. The supervisors have complementary and unique expertise in zebrafish, drug screening and ageing, to provide excellent training for the student.

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Entry Requirements:

Candidates must have a first or upper second class honors degree or significant research experience.


Interested candidates should in the first instance contact Ilaria Bellantuono ( or Steve Renshaw (

How to apply:

Please complete a University Postgraduate Research Application form and attach at least two references to your application. To complete the application form please click on the ‘Apply’ button below.

Please clearly state the prospective main supervisor in the respective box and select ‘Human Metabolism’ as the department.


Closing date: 3rd February 2014

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