ASPIRE Summer Studentships

We offer studentships (up to £1250 each and £180 pw) to medical undergraduates in Years 1–3, to undertake a four to eight week summer research project.

Please find below details of students who are undertaking a Summer Research Project in 2019, and their supervisor:

Winson Cheung - Scott Guimond
Control of growth factor-induced intracellular signaling by heparin sulfate analogs 

Natalia Chilal - Dr Wen-Wu Li
Antibody-drug conjugate against ovarian cancer 

Chloe Fairbrother - Dr Helen Price
Measuring Rate of Kill of Anti-Leishmania Drugs Using A Novel Luciferase System 

Hamzeh Feddah - Dr Sara Muller, Dr Sam Hider and Charles Hay
Glucocorticoid related outcomes for treating Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) 

Nicholas Graves - Prof Carolyn Chew-Graham and Dr Chun Shing Kwok
Food components, diet and relationship with depressive illness: A systematic review and over of reviews 

Zeluleko Sibanda - Dr Melissa Bowerman
Characterization of brown fat from spinal muscular atrophy mice

Chris Stevens - Dr Christopher Adams
Assessing the effects of piezoelectric substrates on neural stem cell differentiation 

Kate Watson - Prof Carolyn Chew-Graham
The role of Pharmacy staff in supporting people with low mood and long term physical conditions: A Qualitative Study 

Please find below details of students who undertook a Summer Research Project in 2018, the year of study they had completed, and their supervisor:

Aiden O'Grady - Year 2.  Supervisor: Dr Stuart Jenkins
Does activation of the niacin receptor (Gpr109a) reduce inflammatory responses in brain immune cells?

Ellen Grose-Hodge - Year 4. Supervisors: Dr Fran Gilchrist and Dr Will Carroll
Protracted Bacterial Bronchitis: An observational cohort study

Jacqualyn Walsh-House - Year 2. Supervisor: Dr Peter Yeates
Developing and understanding the use of video in OSCE exams

Jane Moffat - Year 1. Supervisors: Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham and Dr Tom Kingstone
Exploring Women’s Perspective and Experiences of Perinatal Anxiety: A Qualitative Study

Keenan Wells - Year 2. Supervisor: Dr Christopher Adams
Developing a novel bench-top model of demyelination using organotypic slices derived from chick embryo spinal cord

Magnus Okoh - Year 1. Supervisors: Professor Nicholas Forsyth and Dr Tina Dale
Isolation and culture expansion of porcine visceral pleural membrane mesothelial cells: towards the development of a tissue engineered pleural patch

William Jakobek - Intercalation Year (between Year 4 & 5). Supervisor: Professor Christine Roffe
Investigation of the underlying mechanisms of embolization during stentriever thrombectomy within an in vitro model of the cerebral circulation

Yousrah Uraiby - Year 1. Supervisors: Dr Ross Wilkie, Professor Jo Protheroe and Dr Dahai Yu
Prelim Initiative: Physical and social function in primary care consulters in North Staffordshire

Please find below details of students who undertook a Summer Research Project in 2017, the year of study they had completed, and their supervisor:

Kirsty Clarke - Year 3, Supervisors: Dr. Marissa Maciej-Hulme and Dr Sarah Hart
AminoxyTMT isobaric tags for multiplex analysis of heparan sulphate in multiple myeloma

Samuel Coleman - Year 2, Supervisors: Dr Stuart Jenkins, Dr David Morgan
Validating the identity of adult brain immune cells which may facilitate more patient-relevant models of neurodegeneration

Jordan Higgs - Year 2, Supervisors: Marwan Merkhan (PhD student at the ISTM) under Professor Nicholas R. Forsyth’s research group
Role of hMSCs secretome in modulation of hemoxygenase-1/carbon monoxide anti-inflammatory pathway

Yachna Mehta - Year 2, Supervisors: Dr Lisa Dikomitis
Cluster Headache: Impact and Perceptions Study (CHIPS)

Nathan Nikoloff - Year 1, Supervisors: Carolyn Chew-Graham (CGC) & Tom Shepherd (TS)
Exploring diabetes-specific cognitions and psychological flexibility in people with type 2 diabetes

Sam Sreya - Year 2, Supervisor: Dr Janet Lefroy
An observational study of the Entrustable Professional Activities of Y5 students during assistantships and how they contributed to preparation for practice

Beth Seale - Year 3, Supervisor: Dr Chun Shing Kwok
Is there an association between dementia and cardiovascular disease?

Sandesh Shrestha - Year 2, Supervisors: Dr Claire Mennan PhD, Dr Karina Wright PhD, Mr AE Osman FRCS & Mr JR Chowdhury MBBS, MRCS and Sally Roberts PhD
Investigating the potential of human umbilical cord derived-stem cells for wound healing in the skin.

Haleema Siddique - Year 2, Supervisors: Marwan Merkhan (PhD student at the ISTM) under Professor Nicholas R. Forsyth’s research group
MSCs secretome modulate antigen presentation markers in oxygen dependent manner

Georgios Solomou - Year 2, Supervisor: Dr. Christopher Adams
Assessing the utility of jellyfish derived collagen for supporting neural stem cell transplantation

William Swadling - Year 2, Supervisors: Dr Christopher Adams, Dr Jacqueline Tickle, Karen Walker (Expert advisor)
An ultrastructural evaluation of multicellular neuromimetic hydrogels by electron microscopy

Jacqualyn Walsh-House - Year 1, Supervisors: Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham (Professor of General Practice Research), Tom Kingstone (Research Associate)
Health Care Professional Perspectives of Managing Women with Perinatal Anxiety

Ben Walters - Year 2, Supervisor: Dr Lisa Dikomitis
Health inequalities and the NHS reforms: a qualitative study

Matthew Watson - Year 2, Supervisor: Dr Pensee Wu
Exploring factors contributing to poor pregnancy outcomes in a low risk obstetric population

Chun Wai Wong - Year 4, Supervisors: Professor Mamas A. Mamas & Dr. Chun Shing Kwok
Meta-analysis evaluating the effect of marital status on cardiovascular outcomes

William Woods - Year 2, Supervisor: Dr. Christopher Adams
Investigating the feasibility of using the chick embryo as a traumatic spinal cord injury model

Yasemin Zaremba - Year 2, Supervisor: Prof. Rose Fricker
Investigating the neuroprotective or neurotoxic effect of vitamins B3 and D3 on midbrain dopamine neurons

Seeta Shah - Year &
Jacob Oguntimehin - Year , Supervisors: Dr Julien Pelletier and Dr Jayme Souza-Neto
The responses of Aedes aegypti female mosquitoes to dengue virus (DENV) infection to isolate DENV-susceptible and DENV-resistant individuals within the population

Please find below details of students who undertook a Summer Research Project in 2016, the year of study they had completed, and their supervisor:

Natasha Cleaton - Year 2, Supervisor: Dr Peter Yeates
Investigating relationships between examiners’ memory accuracy for exam performances, score variability and contextual mediating factors

Tiggs Gholamian - Year 1, Supervisors: Dr David Morgan, Dr Stuart Jenkins 
Does repeated activation generate an ‘experienced’ microglial phenotype, with altered pro-inflammatory responses?

Samuel Kalu - Year 2, Supervisor: Dr Alan Richardson 
Evaluation of the expression of HMG-CoA reductase in ovarian cancer

Kiran Kaur - Year 1, Supervisors: Dr Ross Wilkie, Dr Richard Haywood 
To assess the health outcomes in a population in North Staffordshire more than 50 years old with osteoarthritis following a change in socioeconomic circumstances: an observational cohort study.

Bridget Kemball - Year 2, Supervisor: Dr Helen Price 
Molecular interactions of the vaccine candidate HASPB in the protozoan parasite Leishmania mexicana

Bhagat Manku - Year 2, Supervisors: DR Oksana Kehoe, Dr Alasdair Kay 
Anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory effects of mesenchymal stem cells conditioned media in inflammatory arthritis‌

Lawrence Oligbo - Year 2, Supervisors: Jonathan Quicke, Dr Bernadette Bartlam and Dr Jane Richardson 
Formative moments in education that inspire careers

Amit Rajani - Year 2, Supervisors: Zoe Michaleff, Paul Campbell 
Consultation patterns of knee pain in children: an observational study

Ben Nyemi-Tei - Year 4, Supervisors: Dr Julien Pelletier, Dr Souza-Neto 
Mosquito-viral infections

Grace Raybould - Year 2, Supervisor: Dr Zoe Paskins 
Investigating information needs of patients with osteoporosis and fragility fractures

Tony Talhat - Year 2, Supervisor: Dr Pensee Wu 
Effects of renal disease on pregnancy outcomes and long term maternal and fetal health

Maatla Tshimologo - Year 2, Supervisors: Prof Carolyn Chew-Graham, Tom Kingstone
Perceptions of third sector workers providing care for older patients with depression: analysis of a qualitative data-set

James Walker - Year 2, Supervisor: Dr Paul Campbell 
In sickness and in health: A cross-sectional analysis of concordance for depression and anxiety in 13,507 couples

Aarthi Rao - Year 3, Supervisors: Dr Julien Pelletier, Dr Souza-Neto 
Mosquito-viral interactions

Please find below details of students who undertook a Summer Research Project in 2015, the year of study they had completed, and their supervisor:

Zachary Bowen-Davies - Year 2, Supervisors: Dr Edward Roddy, Dr Sara Muller & Prof Christian Mallen
Gout severity, socioeconomic deprivation and work loss: a cross-sectional study in primary care

John Cockcroft - Year 3, Supervisors: Ken Rotenberg & Bernadette Bartlam
Qualitative Investigation of Trust in Health Professionals by Paediatric Health Professionals and Mothers of Paediatric Patients

Owen Davis - Year 2, Supervisors: Dr Julien Pelletier & Dr Jayme Souza Neto - Botucatu Medical School, Brazil
Bacterial diversity of field Aedes aeggypti: a potent source for anti-flaviviral compounds

Amber Dhillon - Year 1, Supervisor: Dr. Ying Yang
Enhancing engineered articular cartilage: using zonal-specific scaffolds and new cell sources

Nicholas Khoshnaw - Year 2, Supervisor: Dr Ying Yang
Development of an in vitro retinal injury module for better retinal disease study and treatment

William Masson - Year 1, Supervisors: Dr Sara Muller & Professor Christian Mallen
Symptoms of giant cell arteritis in patients with an incident diagnosis of polymyalgia rheumatica

Niamh McCarville - Year 2, Supervisors: Professor Warren Lenney & Dr. Francis Gilchrist, Consultant respiratory paediatricians
Review of Paediatric asthma admissions over a 10-15 year span in North Staffordshire

Ben William Mifflin - Year 1, Supervisor: Professor Paul Horrocks
Real-time monitoring of antimalarial drug action using bioluminescence

Hoda Ranjbar - Year 2, Supervisors: Dr James Prior & Dr Toby Helliwell
Diagnostic delay in giant cell arteritis: a systematic review

Mehvish Rashid - Year 3, Supervisor: Dr Hider
Prevalence of renal disease in an rheumatoid arthritis (RA) cohort

Bethany Seale - Year 1, Supervisors: Prof Carolyn Chew-Graham & Dr Heather Burroughs
The management of depression in older people: systematic review

Maatla Elizabeth Tshimologo - Year 1, Supervisors: Dr Sara Muller & Dr Samantha Hider
Patient reported causes of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

George Tyler - Year 2, Supervisors: Dr Oksana Kehoe & Dr Alasdair Kay
Anti-inflammatory effect of mesenchymal stem cells conditioned media in inflammatory arthritis

Please find below details of students who undertook a Summer Research Project in 2014, the year of study they had completed, and their supervisor:

Mina Al Shalchi - Year 2. Supervisor: Professor Christine Rofe
Mechanical thrombectomy in ischaemic stroke: Device-thrombus interaction in a pulsatile flow model of the cerebral circulation

Gareth Byrne - Year 2. Supervisor: Dr Neil Telling
Investigating redistribution of internalised magnetic nanoparticles following cell division: Applications to magnetic hyperthermia

Natasha Cleaton - Year 1. Supervisor: Dr Josep Sule-Suso
Study of volatile organis compounds from lung cancer cells using the Selected Ion Flow tube - Mass Spectrometry technique

Samantha Fairclough - Year 1. Supervisor: Dr Josep Sule-Suso & Dr A. M. Brunt
Study of volatile organis compounds released by bladder cancer cells using the Selected Ion Flow tube - Mass Spectrometry technique

Kate Hope - Year 3. Supervisor: Dr Paul Campbell, Professor Kate Dunn
The association of health locus of control with pain/disability in those with low back pain

Nitish Jawahar - Year 2. Supervisor: Dr Douglas Caruana
Localization of Immunohistolabeled adenosine A1 receptors at Schaffer collateral synapses in hippocampal area CA2 using TEM imaging techniques

Avaish Kachhwaha - Year 1. Supervisor: Dr Frank Lally
Histological Analysis of Clots Removed from Ischaemic Stroke Patients

Christopher Lee - Year 1. Supervisor: Dr Paul Horrocks
Bioassay-guided fractionation to identify antimalarial compounds in Nigerian Traditional Medicine Plants

Sweta Parida - Year 2. Supervisor: Dr Oksana Kehoe
Investigating the chondroprotective potential of mesenchymal stem cells in arthritis

Ciaran Walsh - Year 1. Supervisor: Dr Jame Prior and Dr Priyana Chandratre
Association between illness perception and allopurinal use in gout in primary care

John Watkins - Year 3. Supervisor: Dr Emma Healey
Self-reported sitting time and its association with health-related outcomes in knee osteoarthritis

Please find below details of students who undertook a Summer Research Project in 2013, the year of study they had completed, and their supervisor:

Gurvin Chander, Year 1. Supervisor: Dr Nikki Kuiper & Dr Nick Forsyth
Characterisation of stem cells for cartilage cell therapy

Jasparl Cheema, Year 2. Supervisor: Dr Sarah Hart
Chemical Proteolysis as a New Proteomics Tool

Nicolas Ellerby, Year 3. Supervisor: Dr Ed Roddy
Does intra-articular corticosteroid injection in the pre-operative period increase the risk of joint infection following hip or knee arthroplasty?  A systematic review

Aditya Narain, Year 2. Supervisor: Prof R. K. McKinley
Initial development of a questionnaire to examine drivers of medical student career choices

Jessica Spalding, Year 2. Supervisor: Gill Clifford & Dr Sarah Yardley
What can children teach us? An exploration of how children using hospice services can contribute to undergraduate medical education and service development

George Tancock, Year 2. Supervisor: Dr Rachel Berkson
Sequencing the Cysteine-Rich Region of PLAC8, a Novel Cancer Regulator

Arani Vivekananthan - Year 3. Supervisor: Dr Sam Hider
Evaluating on-line health information for patients with polymyalgia rheumatica

We offer studentships (up to £1250 each) to medical undergraduates in Years 1–3, to undertake a four to eight week summer research project. Students are expected to complete the application form (below) with support from their supervisor. They will be expected to provide a final written report and present their findings at an Annual Research showcase (also funded by the ASPIRE scheme. Details of this event will be made available later in the year). Please note that requests for project running costs and/or student maintenance (£180 pw) will be considered, as long as these are appropriately justified.

The deadline for applications will be confirmed in early 2018 and applicants will be informed of the outcome within approximately four weeks. Applications will be judged by a panel consisting of clinicians and academics; both the research institutes of Primary Care and Science and Technology in Medicine will be represented. All applications will be scored on the quality of the project proposal. No preference will be given to the nature of the study being proposed (experimental, audit, etc). 

The panel will consist of:

  • Prof Divya Chari, Professor of Neural Tissue Engineering (Aspire Co-Lead & Panel Chair)
  • Dr Samantha Hider, Consultant Rheumatologist and Senior Lecturer in Primary Care Sciences (Aspire Co-Lead)
  • Prof Jo Protheroe, Professor of General Practice
  • Prof Nick Forsyth, Professor of Stem Cell Biology

Application form

ASPIRE Summer Studentship Application Form 2020 (128KB)

Tips on applying

For those of you who are considering applying for a studentship, we suggest the following steps: 

  • Decide on an area of research interest and look at the staff research profiles on the web pages listed below. There is a great deal of information about the range of research currently being conducted at Keele, including future opportunities for PhDs and master's courses:
  • Identify a researcher whose work is of interest and contact them for an informal discussion. Approach more than one researcher if necessary
  • If the researcher is prepared to support the project, then complete the application form with their support and advice. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further information, or wish us to facilitate contacts between students and research groups
  • A paper co-authored by Eliot Rees, one of 2013–14's intercalating students, has been accepted for publication in the British Journal of General Practice: "Undergraduate teaching in UK general practice: A complete geographical snapshot", Derbyshire H, Rees E, Gay SP, McKinley RK.
  • Former student Adam Thomas (graduating year 2012) is also a co-author on a paper accepted for publication in Advances in Health Sciences Education: "Development and face validation of strategies for improving consultation skills", Lefroy J, Thomas A, Harrison C, Williams S, O’Mahony F, Gay SP, Kinston R, McKinley RK.
  • Palbha Jain has had an article published in the journal Stroke. Investigating the influence of the withdrawal of the use of compressive stockings on the incidence of venous thromboembolism in stroke patients. This work was conducted with Christine Roffe's group at UHNM/ISTM. 
  • Wong CW,Kwok CS, Narain A, et al. Marital status and risk of cardiovascular diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis doi:10.1136/ heartjnl-2018-313005.
  • R. Wilkie, K. Kaur, R. Hayward. 2018. The impact of socioeconomic status on the link between osteoarthritis and the onset of common comorbidities. Clin Exp Rheumatol.
  • Tshimologo M, Saunders B, Muller S, Mallen CD, Hider SL. Patients' views on the causes of their polymyalgia rheumatica: a content analysis of data from the PMR Cohort Study. BMJ Open. 2017 Jan 25;7(1):e014301. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014301.
  • Vivekanantham A, Protheroe J, Muller S, Hider S. Evaluating on-line health information for patients with polymyalgia rheumatica: a descriptive study.BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2017 Jan 26;18(1):43.
  • Al-Mayyahi RS, Sterio LD, Connolly JB, Adams CF, Al-Tumah WA, Sen J, Emes RD, Hart SR, Chari DM. 2017. A proteomic investigation into mechanisms underpinning corticosteroid effects on neural stem cells. Mol Cell Neurosci, vol. 86, 30-40.
  • Ellerby N, Mattey DL, Packham J, Dawes P, Hider SL. Obesity and comorbidity are independently associated with a failure to achieve remission in patients with established rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis. 2014 Nov;73(11):e74. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-206254. Epub 2014 Aug 8.
  • Michaleff ZA, Campbell P, Protheroe J, Rajani A, Dunn KM. Consultation patterns of children and adolescents with knee pain in UK general practice: analysis of medical records. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2017 Jun 2;18(1):239. doi: 10.1186/s12891-017-1586-1.
  • Prior JA, Ranjbar H, Belcher J, Mackie SL, Helliwell T, Liddle J, Mallen CD. Diagnostic delay for giant cell arteritis - a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Med. 2017 Jun 28;15(1):120. doi: 10.1186/s12916-017-0871-z.
  • Walker J, Liddle J, Jordan KP, Campbell P. Affective concordance in couples: a cross-sectional analysis of depression and anxiety consultations within a population of 13,507 couples in primary care. BMC Psychiatry. 2017 May 19;17(1):190. doi: 10.1186/s12888-017-1354-7.
  • Walsh CP, Prior JA, Chandratre P, Belcher J, Mallen CD, Roddy E. Illness perceptions of gout patients and the use of allopurinol in primary care: baseline findings from a prospective cohort study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2016 Sep 17;17(1):394. doi: 10.1186/s12891-016-1252-z.
  • Ul Haq MA, Rashid M, Kwok CS, Wong CW, Nolan J, Mamas MA. Hand dysfunction after transradial artery catheterization for coronary procedures.World J Cardiol. 2017 Jul 26;9(7):609-619. doi: 10.4330/wjc.v9.i7.609.
  • Kwok CS, Wong CW, Shufflebotham H, Brindley L, Fatima T, Shufflebotham A, Barker D, Pawala A, Heatlie G, Mamas MA. Early Readmissions After Acute Myocardial Infarction. Am J Cardiol. 2017 Sep 1;120(5):723-728. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2017.05.049. Epub 2017 Jun 15.
  • Chue CD, Kwok CS, Wong CW, Patwala A, Barker D, Zaidi A, Mamas MA, Cunnington C, Ahmed FZ. Efficacy and safety of the subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator: a systematic review. Heart. 2017 Sep;103(17):1315-1322. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2016-310852. Epub 2017 Jul 7. Review.
  • Kotronias RA, Kwok CS, Wong CW, Kinnaird T, Zaman A, Mamas MA. Cancer Event Rate and Mortality with Thienopyridines: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Drug Saf. 2017 Mar;40(3):229-240. doi: 10.1007/s40264-016-0481-2. Review.
  • Kwok CS, Wong CW, Rushton CA, Ahmed F, Cunnington C, Davies SJ, Patwala A, Mamas MA, Satchithananda D. Ultrafiltration for acute decompensated cardiac failure: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Cardiol. 2017 Feb 1;228:122-128. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2016.11.136. Epub 2016 Nov 9. Review.