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PhD studentship: Triggers of Innate inflammation by mitochondrial damage in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

This job is no longer available

Newcastle University
16 April 2012
North East England > Tyne & Wear
Course fee
not specified

Further information

PhD studentship: Triggers of Innate inflammation by mitochondrial damage in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

  • Reference Code: CL046


Name of the supervisors
Professor Derek Mann (Newcastle), Institute of Cellular Medicine, Dr Donna Finch (MedImmune)

Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University and MedImmune Ltd.

MedImmune, the global biologics unit of AstraZeneca, is committed to developing better medicines that help people live healthier, longer and more satisfying lives. MedImmune's state-of-the-art Cambridge site (formerly Cambridge Antibody Technology) is home to around 500 employees, and serves the company's European hub for research and development.

Duration of the award
3-year PhD.

Project description
Up to 30% of adults in Western countries have excess fat accumulation in their liver (steatosis), 2-3% meet diagnostic criteria for Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) which can progress to cirrhosis by mechanisms poorly understood. Tissue damage leading to necrotic cell death results in the release of damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), which are intracellular pre-formed adjuvants normally sequestered, even during apoptosis. Sensing of DAMPs by sentinel cells of the immune system leads to activation of an immune response. Mitochondrial dysfunction and tissue damage are features associated with steatosis and recent evidence suggests that leakage of mitochondrial molecules can induce sterile innate immune responses. The studentship will test the hypothesis that ligands released from damaged mitochondria and innate responses thus triggered, stimulate conversion of steatosis to NASH.

The project will employ wide ranging techniques, including use of transgenic technology and recombinant antibodies in models of NASH, assessment of NAFLD /fibrotic liver pathologies, and measurement of innate inflammation markers, as well as assessment of in vitro responses using patient-derived hepatocytes. The successful applicant will work in close collaboration with the industrial sponsor, MedImmune, and as such will spend a significant amount of time working at MedImmune to gain valuable skills and a first-hand awareness of the industrial and commercial perspective of basic research.

Value of the Award and Eligibility
Full award covering PhD fees and tuition rates for UK/EU citizen (non-EU are ineligible to apply).

Person Specification
Recent BSc (at equivalent of class 2:1 and above) or MSc/MRes degree in a biomedical subject. Previous experience of biomedical research beneficial.

How to Apply
You must apply through the University's online postgraduate application form inserting the reference number CL046 and selecting 'Doctor of Philosophy (Medical Sciences) - Cellular Medicine' as the programme of study.  Only mandatory fields need to be completed (no personal statement required) and a covering letter, CV and (if English is not your first language) a copy of your English language qualifications must be attached. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the reference number CL046 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project.

You should also send your covering letter and CV to
Professor Derek A Mann, Fibrosis Facility, Institute of Cellular Medicine, 4th Floor William Leech Building, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH. E-mail

Closing date for applications 
Prompt application is advised as this post is only available until a suitable candidate is appointed.

Further Information
For further details, please contact Professor Derek A Mann by e-mail at or by telephone on 01912223851.

Newcastle University

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