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Targeting systemic inflammation to treat joint pain


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Sunday 26 May 2024
Project start date
Tuesday 1 October 2024
Country eligibility
UK only
Competition funded
Source of funding
External organisation
Professor Philip Conaghan
Additional supervisors
Associate Professor Sarah Kingsbury
School of Medicine
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the commonest arthritis and affects &gt;530 million people globally; prevalent cases increased 113% since 1990. The major problem for people with OA is pain, which results in a huge individual life-burden and societal costs of 1% GDP. The only effective drug treatments are limited in efficacy and have substantial side effects. There is therefore a huge unmet global need. This project will provide the basis for potential new interventions, with supervisors who have a substantial track record of supervising successful PhDs.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<h5>Hypothesis:&nbsp;</h5> <p>Our preliminary data suggests that highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP) may identify a group of patients whose pain responds well to existing immune-modulatory drugs. If we can identify a subgroup of patients with OA pain who will respond to such drugs, we will immediately improve the therapeutic options for OA pain, while also providing new pathways on which to base novel drug interventions.</p> <h5>Workplan:</h5> <ol> <li>Conduct a systematic literature review on hsCRP, OA pain and patient factors, including BMI, diabetes and other co-morbidities that contribute to low-grade systemic inflammation</li> <li>Explore the relationship between hsCRP levels, pain and function, and patient demographics, including BMI, diabetes and multi-morbidities, through a series of analyses using data from.</li> </ol> <ol type="i"> <li>Local OA studies: PROMOTE (155 knee OA patients randomised to methotrexate or placebo for 12 months); REMISSION (200 patients with symptomatic hip/knee OA and comorbid diabetes and obesity, receiving the NHS low calorie liquid diet programme); SPOK (100 OA knee participants with advanced MRI imaging); Multi-Site OA (200 patients with OA in &ge;one large joint, 2 year follow-up); LOHC (250 patients with radiographic hip OA, 3 year follow-up, with annual MRI imaging and gait)</li> <li>National, large well-characterised datasets: UK Biobank (large-scale community cohort, containing in-depth genetic and health information from ~500,000 UK participants), Understanding Society (longitudinal study of ~40,000 UK households, selected to represent all areas of the UK, ages, educational and social backgrounds. In-depth annual health data (now up to 12 years), with biomarker data available on 20,000 adults.)</li> </ol> <p><strong>To support the application process or if you want to know more about our non-clinical PhDs a recording of our 2023 webinar can be found via the links below</strong></p> <p><strong>**The deadline dates in the webinar are out of date but are correct in the stand-alone slide deck**</strong></p> <p><a href=";type=184&amp;DID=757&amp;" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">NIHR Leeds BRC Non Clinical PhD Scheme webinar - YouTube</a></p> <p>with a copy of the slide deck used at</p> <p><a href=";type=184&amp;DID=757&amp;" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Leeds BRC Non Clinical PhD Webinar FINAL updated slide deck March 24 - YouTube</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>To apply for this scholarship opportunity applicants should complete an <a href="">online application form</a> and attach the following documentation to support their application.&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Three supporting statements detailing your previous achievements, why you wish to study for a PhD and your experience of using evidence to inform conclusions.&nbsp;These will be used by our shortlisting panel (without any other information you submit) to select candidates for interview. Please<strong> <a href="">download</a></strong><a href=""> a copy of the template for these statements here</a> and upload it with your application.</li> <li>a full Narrative CV using the <a href=";wdLOR=c146CB828-59A6-4C09-ABA5-05B1BDE31ED7">NIHR Leeds BRC template</a> &ndash;&nbsp;Please note other versions of CV&rsquo;s will not be accepted.</li> <li>degree certificate and transcripts of marks at both Undergraduate and Postgraduate level as appropriate, or marks so far if still studying</li> <li>Evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (if applicable)</li> <li>An <a href="">Equality, Diversity and Inclusion questionnaire.</a> We encourage candidates to complete this form so that we can understand our progress in recruiting under-represented groups. It is important to note that all responses are anonymous and data would only ever be used in aggregate to avoid identification of individuals. The questionnaire includes a &lsquo;prefer not to say&rsquo; option against each question if required. The information you provide on this questionnaire will not be used in the shortlisting process.</li> </ul> <p>To help us identify that you are applying for this scholarship project please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;</p> <ul> <li>Select PhD in Medicine as your programme of study</li> <li>Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert &ndash;&nbsp;Please note you can apply for up to 2 projects. Please list these in order of preference on your applocation form.</li> <li>For source of funding please state you are applying for an NIHR Leeds BRC Non-Clinical Scholarship</li> </ul> <p><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. &nbsp;Within the Faculty of Medicine and Health we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+; and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em>&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

A degree in biological sciences, dentistry, medicine, midwifery, nursing, psychology or a good honours degree (2:1 or above) in a subject relevant to the research topic. A Masters degree is desirable but not essential.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Medicine and Health minimum requirements in IELTS and TOEFL tests for PhD, MSc, MPhil, MD are: &bull; British Council IELTS - score of 6.5 overall, with no element less than 6.0 &bull; TOEFL iBT - overall score of 92 with the listening and reading element no less than 21, writing element no less than 22 and the speaking element no less than 23.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>The University of Leeds is providing generous matched funding, supplementing the NIHR Leeds BRC award, to allow us to appoint one further non-clinical PhD Fellow who can select from 18 BRC related projects. Each PhD will be registered at the University of Leeds and we welcome applications from individuals, irrespective of their background, who can evidence great potential and commitment.</p> <p>The&nbsp;scholarship will provide academic&nbsp;fees at the UK rate, as well as a&nbsp;stipend of &pound;18,622 (based on the 2023/24 stipend rate, pro-rata for part time study) for up to three years (full time study, five years part time) and is available for&nbsp;UK applicants&nbsp;only. Due to limited funding we can only consider applicants eligible to pay academic fees at the UK fee rate.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information about this project please contact Professor Philip Conaghan</p> <p>e: <a href=""></a></p> <p>For further information please contact the Faculty Admissions Team<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href=""></a>,&nbsp;</p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>