Gene therapy using a modified Netrin-1 gene to enhance peripheral nerve repair

Project title:  Gene therapy using a modified Netrin-1 gene to enhance peripheral nerve repair

Reference number:  PUPSMD-17-18-015

Start date:  1 October 2018

Director of Studies: Dr Xin-peng Dun

2nd Supervisor:  Professor David Parkinson

3rd Supervisor:  Dr Xinzhong Li

Project details: 

Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PUPSMD) are seeking to attract PhD candidates to join their exciting and rapidly expanding programme of internationally rated research. PUPSMD are committed to research excellence, with a recent £25 million investment in staff and facilities. Medical research at PUPSMD was ranked first for outputs in REF2014. Since 2014, the Community and Primary Care research group have been awarded over £6 million of NIHR research funding for designing and evaluating complex health interventions. 

PhD opportunity

The Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry are seeking to attract PhD candidates of outstanding ability to join their exciting and rapidly expanding programme of internationally-rated research. The Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry are committed to research excellence with a recent £25 million investment in staff and facilities. Medical research at PUPSMD was ranked first for outputs in REF2014. 

Applications are invited from suitably qualified graduates, 2:1 or above. International students must also have an IELTS score of 7.0 or above (with no less than 6.5 in any element). 

Peripheral nerve injuries are still common in modern society but functional recovery is often very poor with current therapeutic strategies. Gene therapies are promising adjuvant therapeutic strategies to enhance functional recovery of peripheral nerve repair. Netrin-1 was the first discovered axon guidance molecule and it plays important repair roles in the adult nervous system following injury. It not only can promote rapid axon extension but also has the ability to direct regenerating axons to their original targets (Reference: Xin-Peng Dun and David Parkinson. Role of Netrin-1 signalling in nerve regeneration. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2017). Adeno-associated viruses are currently among the most frequently used viral vectors for gene therapy. This PhD project will use an adeno-associated virus vector carrying a modified Netrin-1 gene to promote more rapid functional recovery of damaged peripheral nerves. 

For further information regarding the project, please contact Dr Xin-peng Dun. However, applications must be made in accordance with the details shown below.

The studentship is supported for three years and includes full home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £14,777 per annum. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for home/EU fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates. For the 18/19 academic year the difference in fee is £10,610. If you are selected you will be required to provide financial assurances.

To apply:

Follow the link https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/student-life/your-studies/research-degrees/applicants-and-enquirers and select 'Apply' to access the application form. Please mark the application with REF: PUPSMD-17-18-015 for the attention of Francesca Niedzielski. A project proposal is not required. 

Further information on the application process. If you have any questions on the admissions process contact pupsmd-researchdegreesadmissions@plymouth.ac.uk.  

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on Monday 30 April 2018

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview shortly after the closing date. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by Thursday 31 May 2018 should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.