Current Studentships

Keele University studentships, when available, are funded internally or from external sponsors such as research councils or from industry. If you are interested in any of the studentships available you can apply online.

Research Topic Neurophysiology and morphology of endogenous and cultured cochlear fibrocytes
Reference number: FNS GS 2015-05

In a mouse model of age-related hearing loss it has been noted that loss of cochlear fibrocytes from the lateral wall accompanies and precedes the hearing loss. One possible way of reducing the hearing loss would be to transplant fibrocytes grown in culture into the lateral wall, thereby replacing the lost fibrocytes and restoring their physiological function, which is related to maintaining the extracellular ionic environment around the sensory hair cells. The overall aim of the work is to compare and assess the complement of ion channels and transporters in the fibrocyte membrane, and to account for any differences between cultured cells and those in the cochlear wall. A future transplantation strategy is likely to work better of the cultured fibrocytes closely resemble those in situ. The project will involve:

  • Culturing cochlear fibrocytes in conventional culture dishes and in 3D gels
  • Electrophysiological recordings from cochlear fibrocytes, both in culture and in cochlear slices. The aim being to assess the similarity in ion channel and transporter function between the two groups.
  • Anatomical analysis at both the EM and LM level of fibrocytes used in our experiments (and their neighbours) for quantitative assessment of the fibrocyte type and their labelled membrane proteins such as potassium channels and potassium-chloride transporters.
Details See Advert and details and Supplementary Information
Duration 3 years
Fees 100% tuition fees for 3 years commencing Academic year 2015/2016. Non-UK/EU students would be required to pay the additional overseas fees themselves.
Stipend Stipend support for three years at £14,056, £4,904, £4,804 commencing academic year 2015/2016.
Closing date 31st August 2015

Apply online here

Research Topic The role of the microbiome in human asthma
Reference number: FNS GS 2015-06

Project Summary: The role of the microbiome in human asthma

Dr Daniel P Tonge, Dr Martin Leonard and Prof Timothy W Gant

Asthma is a chronic lung condition resulting in often debilitating episodes of restricted breathing. It is estimated that 5.4 million people in the UK are receiving medical management for the symptoms of asthma resulting in the UK having one of the highest prevalence rates worldwide . Indeed, prevalence has significantly increased in industrialised countries over the past five decades. In considering the increasing predisposition to asthma, one key area for exploration is microbial exposure. Epidemiological data implicating increased hygiene as a factor for the development of hay allergy was first identified in 1989 . Termed the hygiene hypothesis, this work and supporting studies proposed that reduced microbial contact predisposed certain individuals to allergic disease development. Since then, various studies have described an inverse relationship between childhood exposure to a range of microbially rich and diverse activities and environments with asthma incidence, including; farm living, exposure to cows, straw and unpasteurised milk.

With the aim of elucidating the mechanisms via which microbial exposure and subsequent microbiome formation can modulate immune response to “trigger agents”, this studentship will initially characterise a well-defined cohort of human allergic asthma patients in comparison with age and sex matched controls.

Details See Advert and details and Supplementary Information
Duration 3 years
Fees 100% UK/EU tuition fees for 3 years. Non-UK/EU students would be required to pay the additional overseas fees themselves.
Stipend Stipend support at £5000 pa for three years commencing academic year 2015/6
Closing date 14th August 2015

Apply online here