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School of Engineering and Materials Science Research Studentships

IOB PhD Studentship: The role of polycystin in cartilage mechanobiology in health, ageing and disease

Supervisors:,Dr Cleo Bishop,

Application Deadline: 15-03-2015

Institute of Bioengineering, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) The QMUL Institute of Bioengineering is a new cross-faculty initiative bringing together over 50 academics from the faculties of Medicine & Dentistry and Science & Engineering. The Institute provides a focus for ground-breaking research aimed at the development of new medical therapeutics and diagnostics to meet the key healthcare challenges of the 21st century. Project Details: Mechanical loading modulates the turnover of articular cartilage extracellular matrix and is essential for the health and homeostasis of the tissue. Disruption of this mechanobiology process has been linked to the aetiology of osteoarthritis. Understanding the associated cellular mechanisms may provide new therapeutic targets for the treatment of this widespread debilitating condition. Previous studies from Knight’s group have shown that chondrocyte mechanosensation is modulated by the primary cilium, which consisting of a slender microtubule-based axoneme 2-3µm length and 0.2µm in diameter. Bishop (Co-supervisor) has also shown that primary cilia are also involved in senescence and hedgehog signalling, both of which are involved in osteoarthritis. Previous studies blocked cartilage mechanosensation using a hypomorphic mutation of the interflagellar transport protein (IFT88) which carries signalling proteins onto the primary cilium. This mutation also disrupted the polycystin ion channel complex located on the cilium. Although polycystin is involved in epithelial mechanotransduction, the role of polycystin in cartilage mechanobiology and how this changes with senescence and disease has never been examined. This exciting new study will therefore test the hypothesis that: Polycystin regulates chondrocyte mechanobiology and is disrupted by ageing and disease. The student will be integrated within a large multidisciplinary research team led by Knight, Bishop and Novak, all of whom have internationally-leading experience in primary cilia research. The student will be trained in state-of-the-art techniques including Structural Illumination super resolution Microscopy and Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy, enabling visualisation of primary cilia and investigation of the electrophysiology of single ion channels. This high impact research project will transform understanding of polycystin and primary cilia mechanobiology in articular cartilage health, ageing and disease. Supervisors: Prof Martin Knight, Dr Cleo Bishop, Dr Paval Novak QMUL Research Studentship Details • Available to Home/EU/International Applicants • Full Time programme only • Applicants required to start in September/October 2015. • The studentship arrangement will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend (£15,863 in 2014/15) for up to three years. • The minimum requirement for this studentship opportunity is a good Honours degree (minimum 2(i) honours or equivalent) or MSc/MRes in a relevant discipline. • International applicants should refer to the following website at • If English is not your first language then you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ overall with a minimum score of 5.5 in all sections (Reading, Listening, Writing, Speaking). Contact Details: For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Prof Martin Knight Tel: 020 7882 8868 E-mail: Application Method: To apply for this studentship and for entry on to the Medical Engineering programme (Full Time, Semester 1 start) via the following webpage: Further Guidance available via: Please be sure to include a reference to ‘2015 QMRS IOB MMK’ to associate your application with this studentship opportunity.