PhD Studentship: Dissecting the molecular mechanisms underlying intestinal inflammation in patients with cystic fibrosis: a multi-dimensional phenotypic study

Updated: 10 days ago
Location: Nottingham, SCOTLAND
Deadline: 31 Oct 2022

Closing Date
Monday, 31st October 2022
Centre for Biomolecular Sciences

PhD Studentship: Dissecting the molecular mechanisms underlying intestinal inflammation in patients with cystic fibrosis: a multi-dimensional phenotypic study

Applications are invited for a PhD project funded via the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as part of Gut Research Advancing a Mechanistic and Personalised Understanding of Symptoms in Cystic Fibrosis: A Strategic Research Centre: The GRAMPUS-CF SRC.


Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-limiting autosomal recessive disorder affecting over 100,000 people in the UK. Whilst respiratory problems are a major problem, most patients also experience gut symptoms and are at an increased risk of gastrointestinal cancer. The pathophysiology of gut symptoms is poorly understood. 

The GRAMPUS-CF Strategic Research Centre (SRC) is a £750k collaboration between 11 institutions and the patient community, led by the principal investigator Prof Alan Smyth, Professor of Child Health, University of Nottingham, aimed at tackling a question, posed by a patient engagement exercise : “How can we relieve GI symptoms, such as stomach pain, bloating and nausea in people with CF?” Our hypothesis is that the abdominal symptoms arise through a combination of viscid small bowel content, stasis, dysmotility, inflammation and dysbiosis. By triangulating clinical data with the microbiome, inflammation, and physiology (through MR imaging), we will elucidate the mechanisms behind symptoms and identify candidate therapeutic interventions for clinical trials. 

The successful applicant will join a multi-disciplinary research environment and learn a variety of molecular and cellular biology techniques. The student will measure gut inflammation by profiling CF patient biospecimens using bespoke and commercially available immunoassays. The student will also learn flow cytometry, cell culture and live cell imaging techniques and will receive training in serum microRNA profiling and proteomics techniques. Successful applicant will learn how to evaluate and manipulate pathways of gut inflammation in vitro using culture-based laboratory models and emerging therapeutics.


Applicants should hold, or expect to hold, First or Upper Second-Class UK degree (or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK) in a relevant biological subject. Completion/near completion of an MSc or MRes course is desirable. The studentship is available from February 2023 for a period of 3 years and is full time only due to funding constraints. Based at the Nottingham Digestive Diseases Centre, Queen’s Medical Centre within the academic unit of Translational Medical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham. The successful applicant will receive laboratory training at the University of Birmingham, and shorter periods in collaborating laboratories at Nottingham Trent University and University of Glasgow.

The studentship is fully funded (fees and maintenance) and only available to graduates eligible for UK/Home PhD fee status. Due to funding restrictions, international students cannot be considered. 

The PhD will be supervised by Dr Tanya Monaghan (Clinical Associate Professor of Gastroenterology) Dr Karen Robinson (Associate Professor of Immunology), University of Nottingham, and Dr Niharika Duggal (Lecturer in Immunity and Ageing), University of Birmingham.

Informal to be directed to

Closing date for applications: 31st October at 5.00 pm UK time.

Formal applications can be made online through the University of Nottingham’s online application system:

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