3yr PhD funded by Asthma UK available at Imperial College

Gene-environment interactions mediating the onset of preschool wheeze and progression to asthma

3yr PhD funded by Asthma UK – starting October 2018

Applications are invited from candidates with a Master’s degree (Merit and above) in Biomedical Sciences or a related discipline, for a 3 year PhD studentship to investigate the mechanisms underlying the inception of childhood asthma.

The studentship will be funded for 3 years with a tax free bursary. Tuition fees at the Home/EU rate will also be paid.

Approximately one-third of children under 5 years suffer from wheezing, and one-third of those will progress to develop asthma. Preschool wheeze triggered by viral infections (human rhinovirus (HRV) in particular) and genetic susceptibility at the chromosome 17q21 locus (ORMDL3 mutations) are both important risk factors for asthma development. In contrast, growing up on a farm is protective. It is now apparent that gene-environmental interactions influence outcome of preschool viral wheeze. Children with alterations at 17q21 wheeze more in early life, but are protected from asthma development by the environmental influence of being brought up on a farm. However, neither the mechanisms underlying susceptibility nor those mediating protection are known. The aim of this project is to use our unique neonatal model of allergic airways disease to investigate the role of 17q21, viral infection, farmyard microbes and innate cytokines in the onset of childhood asthma, and to find targets for disease prevention.

Imperial College London provides excellent opportunities for research students’ training. All students benefit from a full programme of training in research and transferable skills organised through the Graduate School, the quality of which has been recognised several times at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards.

The student will be based in the National Heart and Lung Institute which provides an exciting environment, with state of the art facilities and excellent opportunities for PhD student training including research seminars and journal clubs. In addition, the institute provides extensive collaborative opportunities with other research groups.

The successful student will be part of the MRC-Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma, a partnership between the Medical Research Council, Asthma UK, Imperial College London, King’s College London and partner NHS Trusts to advance our understanding of the pathogenesis of asthma. The Centre provides an outstanding opportunity for high-calibre PhD students to train in areas of basic and clinical science that have direct relevance to the development of novel approaches for the prevention and treatment of asthma.

How to Apply

Applicants must hold, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second-class undergraduate degree or UK equivalent, along with a Masters, both in an appropriate subject from a recognised academic institution. To apply please send a CV, a one page personal statement, and the names and addresses of at least two academic referees to Professor Sejal Saglani by email on s.saglani@imperial.ac.uk   Please note that candidates must fulfil College admissions criteria.

Application deadline: 17 June 2018

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