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Regulation of human cardiac fibroblast function by specific micro RNAs


Key facts

Type of research degree
4 year PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (outside UK)
Dr Karen Forbes and Dr Neil Turner
School of Medicine
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The heart is made up of several different cell types with the majority being either muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) or cells that produce the structural scaffold of the heart (cardiac fibroblasts) [1,2].

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

<p>Like all cells, cardiac fibroblasts express a class of recently discovered regulatory molecules called &ldquo;microRNAs&rdquo;. In fibroblasts, microRNAs are thought to regulate the structural remodelling of the heart following injury or stress (e.g. after a heart attack or in response to high blood pressure) [2,3]. Cardiac fibroblasts contribute to cardiac remodelling through altered proliferation, migration, differentiation, extracellular matrix turnover and secretion of paracrine signalling factors [1-3]. We have recently identified a handful of microRNAs expressed by cardiac fibroblasts that we think are of particular interest in regulating cardiac remodelling [4].</p> <p>This project will use a combination of molecular and cellular methods to explore the role of these microRNAs in regulating human cardiac fibroblast function. The project will involve a variety of cell and molecular biology techniques including primary human cell culture, proliferation &amp; migration assays, signalling pathway analysis, SILAC proteomics, luciferase reporter assays, transfection, real-time RT-PCR, Western blotting, ELISA and immunocytochemistry.</p> <h3>References</h3> <ol> <li>Porter KE, Turner NA. Cardiac fibroblasts - at the heart of myocardial remodeling. Pharmacology &amp; Therapeutics 2009;123:255-278.</li> <li>Turner NA, Porter KE. Function and fate of myofibroblasts after myocardial infarction. Fibrogenesis &amp; Tissue Repair 2013;6:5.</li> <li>Creemers EE, van Rooij E. Function and therapeutic potential of noncoding RNAs in cardiac fibrosis. Circulation Research 2016;118:108-18.</li> <li>Bageghni SA, Hemmings KE, Porter KE, Denton C, Ainscough JFX, Drinkhill MJ, Turner NA. Cardiac fibroblast-specific p38-alpha MAPK promotes cardiac hypertrophy via a putative paracrine IL-6 signalling mechanism. FASEB Journal 2018;32:4941-4954.</li> </ol>

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

<p>Please note these are not standalone projects and applicants must apply to the PhD academy directly.</p> <p>Applications can be made at any time. To apply for this project applicants should complete a<a href=""> Faculty Application Form</a> and send this alongside a full academic CV, degree transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) and degree certificates to the Faculty Graduate School <a href=""></a></p> <p>We also require 2 academic references to support your application. Please ask your referees to send these <a href="">references</a> on your behalf, directly to&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p>If you have already applied for other projects using the Faculty Application Form this academic session you do not need to complete this form again. Instead you should email fmhgrad to inform us you would like to be considered for this project.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p>

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

A degree in biological sciences, dentistry, medicine, midwifery, nursing, psychology or a good honours degree in a subject relevant to the research topic. A Masters degree in a relevant subject may also be required in some areas of the Faculty. For entry requirements for all other research degrees we offer, please contact us.

<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: &acirc;&euro;&cent; British Council IELTS - score of 7.0 overall, with no element less than 6.5 &acirc;&euro;&cent; TOEFL iBT - overall score of 100 with the listening and reading element no less than 22, writing element no less than 23 and the speaking element no less than 24.

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

<p>For further information please contact the Graduate School Office<br /> e:<a href=""></a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 8221.</p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>