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Genome wide association studies have enabled us to identify genes which are associated with cardiovascular disease at the level of the whole genome. However, the challenge now is to establish the role of these genes in the pathology of cardiovascular disease.

This project will aim to exam the role of a novel candidate gene in cardiovascular disease. In order to addresses these questions we will use well established assays of primary cell function to assess how the loss of this candidate gene alters cell functions such proliferation, migration and the response to flow, using state of the art cellular imaging equipment as well as basic molecular biology skills. The information gained from these In vitro studies will then be used in a targeted fashion to investigate the role of the candidate gene in models of In vivo cardiovascular disease, in particular the development and regression of atherosclerosis and models of altered vascular function such as vascular injury and ischaemia models.

Training Opportunities

This DPhil will be based at the Welcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics under the supervision of Professor Channon and Dr Douglas. We are part of a wider scientific community with expertise in Cardiovascular Disease allowing for collaborative work with other senior scientist. By the end of this project the candidate will have developed a wide range of skills in both In vitro cell based assays as well as In vivo models of cardiovascular disease. Training in scientific techniques as well as scientific presentation and writing will be given throughout the project.

As well as the specific training detailed above, students will have access to a wide-range of seminars and training opportunities through the many research institutes and centres based in Oxford. Students are also able to attend the Methods and Techniques course run by the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. This course runs through the year, ensuring that students have the opportunity to build a broad-based understanding of differing research techniques.

Generic skills training is offered through the Medical Sciences Division's Skills Training Programme. This programme offers a comprehensive range of courses covering many important areas of researcher development: knowledge and intellectual abilities, personal effectiveness, research governance and organisation, and engagement, influence and impact. Students are actively encouraged to take advantage of the training opportunities available to them.

The Department has a successful mentoring scheme, open to graduate students, which provides an additional possible channel for personal and professional development outside the regular supervisory framework. We hold an Athena SWAN Silver Award in recognition of our efforts to support the careers of female students and staff.

Publications

1 Chuaiphichai S et al.  A Key Role for Tetrahydrobiopterin-Dependent Endothelial NOS Regulation in Vascular Resistance Ateries: Studies in Endothelial Cell Tetrahydrobiopterin-Deficient Mice.  British Journal of Pharmacology 2017; 174 (8): 657-671. PMID 28128438
2 Kerr AG et al. Episomal Nonviral Gene Therapy Vectors Slow Progression of Atherosclerosis in a Model of Familial Hypercholesterolemia. Mol Ther Nucleic Acids. 2016;5(11):e383. PMID 27824334.
3 Fan LM et al. Endothelial cell-specific reactive oxygen species production increases susceptibility to aortic dissection. Circulation. 2014;129:2661-72
4

Patel J et al.  RGS1 regulates myeloid cell accumulation in atherosclerosis and aortic aneurysm rupture through altered chemokine signalling. Nature Comms. 2015;6: 6614. PMID 25782711.

Research Themes, Tools and Technologies

Supervisors

Key Dates for October 2018 Entry

Application deadline:  12 noon GMT on Monday 8 January 2018

Interviews for shortlisted candidates: Week commencing Monday 22 January 

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How to apply

To apply for a place on the DPhil in Medical Sciences you will need to submit an application using the online application form.

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