The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensor Technologies for a Healthy and Sustainable Future, in collaboration with AstraZeneca, is inviting applications for fully funded 1+3 years MRes + PhD studentships, commencing in October 2020.
The studentships are fully-funded for 4-years and will be hosted at the University of Cambridge in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. The student will be enrolled in the Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensor Technologies for a Healthy and Sustainable Future (http://cdt.sensors.cam.ac.uk). The first year involves a highly interdisciplinary programme consisting of lectures, research and team projects covering a wide range of sensing technologies . Successful completion of the first year will lead to a Master of Research qualification (MRes) and optimal preparation for the PhD project in years 2-4.
Two projects are currently available:
Advanced Imaging of Extracellular Vesicles
The studentship will be hosted by Professor Clemens Kaminski in the Laser Analytics group (https://laser.ceb.cam.ac.uk/) in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. In this project you will investigate the potential of extracellular vesicles (EVs) to deliver active cargo into cells. The project will make use of advanced microscopy techniques and molecular biology techniques developed in the host group. Extracellular vesicles are membrane-enclosed vesicles secreted by virtually all living cells. They are capable of transferring biologically active proteins, lipids and nucleic acids, which can evoke multiple physiological responses in the recipient cell. Due to their outstanding safety, circulation half-life and biocompatibility profiles, EVs are also being investigated as drug delivery vehicles for various cargos including innovative nucleic acid-based drugs, developed by Astra Zeneca. However, therapeutic applications require further investigation of how EVs interact with their recipient cells. Spatiotemporal imaging of the mechanism of cargo delivery and subsequent action is difficult due to the small size of EVs. We have recently developed a novel single molecule translation imaging approach which allows us to track single nucleic acids and ensuing protein translation in real-time at high resolution. This method will be applied to understand the mechanism of cargo delivery by EVs and its physiological effect. In addition, the translational use of EVs for drug delivery will be investigated in this project in collaboration with AstraZeneca.
Developing dynamic biosensors for GPCR signalling pathways
The studentship will be hosted by Doctor Graham Ladds’ group (https://www.phar.cam.ac.uk/research/Ladds) in the Department of Pharmacology. In this project you will design and experimentally evaluate molecular biosensors to interrogate cellular signalling pathways. The project will involve development of cell-based assays, molecular engineering of biosensors and will use detection technologies like FRET/BRET/proximity assays, luminescence & fluorescence reporter assays.
Signalling pathways mediate cell-cell interactions and coordinate cellular responses to external stimuli. Many common chronic diseases are caused by aberrant signalling and most drugs act directly or indirectly on specific signalling events to mediate their therapeutic effects. The majority of existing signalling assays examine either receptor engagement or late downstream events, mainly signalling-mediated transcriptional activation of effector gene expression. Examination of second messengers and immediate downstream activation of protein kinase cascades has been more challenging due to the lack of high affinity dynamic tools that enable time-resolved tracking of signalling events and crosstalk between signalling pathways. You will develop bioassays that will provide fundamental insights into signalling pathways dynamics, that can be directly implemented in drug development activities. The project will focus on G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), one of the most extensively studied family of plasma-membrane receptors, and a long-standing interest of Dr Graham Ladds’ group. In addition, the validation of newly engineered cell lines and bioassays and their comparison with existing assay formats will be done in collaboration with the Bioassay Development team at AstraZeneca, Cambridge. The current AstraZeneca pipeline contains a variety of biotherapeutics that are effective modulators of GPCRs, and you will have the opportunity to implement novel assay formats in ongoing drug development projects.
How To Apply
You can find more details on the available studentships here.
Detailed guidelines on how to apply can be found here.
The application deadline is 30 April 2020.
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