PhD studentship Ultrastructure and calcium homeostasis in atrial myocytes and pulmonary vein myocytes

PhD studentship to start in January 2014 (or earlier if possible)

Faculty of Science

Based in Milton Keynes 

We already have three new PhD students starting in the Department in October 2013 and have now secured funding for another four studentships. 

The three-year research studentships provide a maintenance grant of £13,726 per year (2013 rate) and all academic fees are covered. 

The department has a thriving postgraduate community and the postgraduate training programme provides a full range of courses covering: research techniques, scientific methods, information technology, communication and interpersonal skills, which are tailored to the needs of each student.

Project Title: Ultrastructure and calcium homeostasis in atrial myocytes and pulmonary vein myocytes
Project Supervisors: Katja Rietdorf, Martin Bootman (Open University) 

Atrial fibrillation is the most prevalent sustained form of cardiac arrhythmia. Pulmonary vein myocytes (PVMs) contribute to the development of atrial fibrillation, and electrical isolation of those cells from the atrium is one of the major treatments for atrial fibrillation. We recently established mouse lung slices as a new model to study PVM signalling in situ. In this project, we want to further characterise the ultrastructure, calcium homeostasis, and electrical excitability of PVMs with the intention to learn more about how PVMs contribute to the development of atrial fibrillation. The project involves various microscopic techniques (electron microscopy, live-cell imaging and immunofluorescence using confocal and fluorescence microscopy) using lung slices and primary isolated myocytes. Protein, biochemical and molecular-biological techniques will be used to measure protein and RNA expression levels.

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We are looking for a highly motivated student with a good first degree in biology, biochemistry, pharmacology or a related area, and who is interested in the field of calcium signalling. Knowledge of microscopic techniques is an advantage, but not essential. The project should start as soon as possible after October 1st 2013.

For informal enquiries about this project, please contact Dr Katja Rietdorf, Department of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences at The Open University by email on

Please send an email/letter stating the project you are interested in, your CV and a completed application form, to be found here: to the following mailbox: by Friday, October 18th or by post to the Research Co-ordinator, Science Deanery, K Block, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA.

Shortlisting will take place during the week of October 21st with the interviews following during the week of November 4th.

Closing Date: October 18th, 2013

To apply, please click the Apply button below. 

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