ASPIRE Summer Studentships

We offer studentships (up to £1,250) to medical undergraduates in Years 1–3, to undertake a four to eight week summer research project.

Please find below details of students who undertook a Summer Research Project by year, and their supervisor(s).

Mohammad Boozarjomehri; Dr Stuart Jenkins & Dr Andrew Morris

Is neuroinflammation more accurately modelled using Gram-negative (LPS+) or Gram-positive (LTA+) bacteria

Cameron Dallah; Dr Scott Guimond

Inhibition of SARS – Cov2 binding to lung epithelial cells by heparin derivatives

Fidan Damirova; Dr Ella Maysami

Evaluating the impact of comorbidities on the nervous system           

Katie Haynes; Dr Melissa Bowerman

Effect of fluphenazine on muscle and nerve phenotypes in spinal muscular atrophy

Juanita Koomson; Dr Joseph Kwong

Investigation of CD74 molecule in human ovarian cancer

James Lindley; Dr Laurna Bullock & Dr Zoe Paskins

Osteoporotic Wrist Fracture Rehabilitation for Healthcare Professionals

Ciara Owens; Dr Stuart Jenkins

Do ‘stealth’ nanoparticles escape lysosomal intracellular fate in neural immune cells

Poorva Santosh Zope; Dr Laura Swaithes & Dr Alice Moult

Patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) in knowledge mobilisation: a scoping review

Amy Louise Brown-Lyons; Dr Stuart Jenkins
Validation of microglial inflammatory activation culture within 3D collagen hydrogels, for assessing inflammatory status

Tara Burns; Dr Ruoli Chen
Pharmacological Accumulation of Hypoxia Inducible Factors for Neuroprotection in Stroke

Yasmin Cantwell; Dr Nicola Cornwall
Reporting of progression criteria in protocols of pilot trials: An update of a methodological review (Mbuagbaw et al, 2019)

Davida Miriam Commey; Dr Alan Richardson
Evaluation of KCR10e and KCR107 as BCKDK inhibitors

Andrew Gregory; Dr Melissa Bowerman
Characterization of brown adipose tissues from spinal muscular atrophymice and WT controls

Caitlin Jane Hampson; Professor Divya Chari and Dr Stuart Jenkins
Detecting the products of collagen biomaterial breakdown in neural immune cells.

Mary Anchana Jebanesan; Professor Divya Chari and Dr Stuart Jenkins
Can functional electrical stimulation alter immune cell responses in neurological pathology?

Sowmya Prasanna Kumar Menon; Dr Pensee Wu
Cancer in pregnancy: hospital admissions and outcomes

Le Thanh Tra Nguyen; Dr Kay Polidano
The psychosocial impact of thalassemia in low- and middle- income countries: a scoping review

Shahzaib Shamsi; Dr Christopher Adams
Examining the use of conductive scaffolds for remote control of encapsulated neural cell differentiation

Balamrit Singh Sokhal; Professor Mamas Mamas and Dr Mohamed Mohamed
Outcomes of Acute Myocardial Infarction in patients with Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR)

Sanjana Srinivas; Dr Scott Guimond
Inhibition of SARS – Cov2 binding to lung epithelial cells by heparin derivatives

Bassant Abdelfadeel; Dr Sarah Hart, Dr Helen Price, and Dr Liz King
Surface Glycan analysis for Leishmania Mexicana

Shannen Allen; Dr Oksana Kehoe and Rebecca Davies
Therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles in inflammatory arthritis

Lauren Franklin; Dr Ross Wilkie, Professor Joanne Protheroe, and Dr Dahai Yu
Work absence and presenteeism in primary care consulters

Daniel Humphreys; Professor Christopher Exley
Human Exposure to Aluminium: Aluminium in brain tissue in Parkinson’s disease

Chi Ian Kuok; Dr Wen-Wu Li
Anticancer Drugs Discovery – Microbial and Enzymatic Transformation of Terpenoids

Sowmya Prasanna Kumar Menon; Professor Nicholas Forsyth and Amy Byrne
The isolation and characterization of exosome from tenocytes to better understand their immunomodulatory capacity

Jay Panchal; Dr Kay Polidano and Professor Lisa Dikomitis
Community-based interventions for the prevention and control of cutaneous leishmaniasis: a systematic review

Madalina Pasca; Dr Alan Harper
Developing tissue engineered human blood vessels without a bioreactor – a replacement for current murine thrombosis models

Veer Patel; Dr Melissa Bowerman
Assessing the effect of Risdiplam in the Smn2B/- spinal muscular atrophy mouse model

Sai Ramesh; Professor Kelvin Jordan and Professor Mamas Mamas
The incidence and causes of non-cardiac chest pain in primary care and the prognosis of future cardiovascular events

Balamrit Singh Sokhal; Dr Samantha Hider and Dr Sara Muller
Fragility Fractures and Prophylactic Medication Use in Patients with Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR): PMR Cohort Study

Winson Cheung; Dr 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; Professor 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; Professor 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; Dr Stuart Jenkins
Does activation of the niacin receptor (Gpr109a) reduce inflammatory responses in brain immune cells?

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

Jacqualyn Walsh-House, Year 2; Dr Peter Yeates
Developing and understanding the use of video in OSCE exams

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

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

Magnus Okoh, Year 1; 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); 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; 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; Dr. Marissa Maciej-Hulme and Dr Sarah Hart
AminoxyTMT isobaric tags for multiplex analysis of heparan sulphate in multiple myeloma

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

Jordan Higgs, Year 2; 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; Dr Lisa Dikomitis
Cluster Headache: Impact and Perceptions Study (CHIPS)

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

Sam Sreya, Year 2; 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; Dr Chun Shing Kwok
Is there an association between dementia and cardiovascular disease?

Sandesh Shrestha, Year 2; 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; 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; Dr. Christopher Adams
Assessing the utility of jellyfish derived collagen for supporting neural stem cell transplantation

William Swadling, Year 2; Dr Christopher Adams, Dr Jacqueline Tickle, and Karen Walker (expert advisor)
An ultrastructural evaluation of multicellular neuromimetic hydrogels by electron microscopy

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

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

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

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

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

Yasemin Zaremba, Year 2; Professor Rose Fricker
Investigating the neuroprotective or neurotoxic effect of vitamins B3 and D3 on midbrain dopamine neurons

Seeta Shah and Jacob Oguntimehin; 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; Dr Peter Yeates
Investigating relationships between examiners’ memory accuracy for exam performances, score variability and contextual mediating factors

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

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

Kiran Kaur, Year 1; Dr Ross Wilkie and 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; Dr Helen Price 
Molecular interactions of the vaccine candidate HASPB in the protozoan parasite Leishmania mexicana

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

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

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

Ben Nyemi-Tei, Year 4; Dr Julien Pelletier and Dr Souza-Neto 
Mosquito-viral infections

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

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

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

James Walker, Year 2; 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; Dr Julien Pelletier and 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; Dr Edward Roddy, Dr Sara Muller, and Professor Christian Mallen
Gout severity, socioeconomic deprivation and work loss: a cross-sectional study in primary care

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

Owen Davis, Year 2; Dr Julien Pelletier and 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; Dr. Ying Yang
Enhancing engineered articular cartilage: using zonal-specific scaffolds and new cell sources

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

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

Niamh McCarville, Year 2; Professor Warren Lenney and 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; Professor Paul Horrocks
Real-time monitoring of antimalarial drug action using bioluminescence

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

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

Bethany Seale, Year 1; Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham and Dr Heather Burroughs
The management of depression in older people: systematic review

Maatla Elizabeth Tshimologo; Year 1, Dr Sara Muller and Dr Samantha Hider
Patient reported causes of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

George Tyler, Year 2; Dr Oksana Kehoe and 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;, Professor Christine Rofe
Mechanical thrombectomy in ischaemic stroke: Device-thrombus interaction in a pulsatile flow model of the cerebral circulation

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

Natasha Cleaton, Year 1; 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; Dr Josep Sule-Suso and 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; Dr Paul Campbell and Professor Kate Dunn
The association of health locus of control with pain/disability in those with low back pain

Nitish Jawahar, Year 2; 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; Dr Frank Lally
Histological Analysis of Clots Removed from Ischaemic Stroke Patients

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

Sweta Parida, Year 2; Dr Oksana Kehoe
Investigating the chondroprotective potential of mesenchymal stem cells in arthritis

Ciaran Walsh, Year 1; Dr Jame Prior and Dr Priyana Chandratre
Association between illness perception and allopurinal use in gout in primary care

John Watkins, Year 3; 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; Dr Nikki Kuiper and Dr Nick Forsyth
Characterisation of stem cells for cartilage cell therapy

Jasparl Cheema, Year 2; Dr Sarah Hart
Chemical Proteolysis as a New Proteomics Tool

Nicolas Ellerby, Year 3; 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; Professor R. K. McKinley
Initial development of a questionnaire to examine drivers of medical student career choices

Jessica Spalding, Year 2; Gill Clifford and 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; Dr Rachel Berkson
Sequencing the Cysteine-Rich Region of PLAC8, a Novel Cancer Regulator

Arani Vivekananthan, Year 3; Dr Sam Hider
Evaluating on-line health information for patients with polymyalgia rheumatica

Students are expected to complete the application form (typically sent in early March) with support from their supervisor. Please note that requests for project running costs and/or student maintenance (up to £1250) will be considered as long as these are appropriately justified.

Applications will be judged by a panel consisting of clinicians and academics. All applications will be scored on the quality of the project proposal and no preference will be given to the nature of the study being proposed.

Successful candidates will also be expected to provide a final written report and present their findings at the Annual ASPIRE Research Showcase (also funded by the ASPIRE scheme), usually held in November.

Available research projects

The following MS Sway document provides an updated database of ASPIRE Summer Studentships being offered, including project description and potential supervisors.

You can also navigate staff research profiles on the School of Medicine, the School of Life Sciences, the School of Pharmacy and Bioengineering, and the Institute for Global Health web pages and contact researchers whose work is of interest for an informal discussion.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require further information or wish us to facilitate contacts between students and research groups.

Publications co-authored by ASPIRE summer students (indicated in bold)

1. Sokhal BS, Hider SL, Paskins Z, Mallen CD, Muller S. Fragility fractures and prescriptions of medications for osteoporosis in patients with polymyalgia rheumatica: results from the PMR Cohort Study. Rheumatol Adv Pract. 2021;5(3):rkab094.

2. Wilkie R, Kaur K, Hayward RA. The impact of socioeconomic status on the link between osteoarthritis and the onset of common comorbidities. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2019 Feb;37(1):44–8.

3. Wong CW, Kwok CS, Narain A, Gulati M, Mihalidou AS, Wu P, et al. Marital status and risk of cardiovascular diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Heart Br Card Soc. 2018 Dec;104(23):1937–48.

4. Bowen-Davies Z, Muller S, Mallen CD, Hayward RA, Roddy E. Gout Severity, Socioeconomic Status, and Work Absence: A Cross-Sectional Study in Primary Care. Arthritis Care Res. 2018;70(12):1822–8.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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):609–19.

8. 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.

9. Prior JA, Ranjbar H, Belcher J, Mackie SL, Helliwell T, Liddle J, et al. Diagnostic delay for giant cell arteritis - a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Med. 2017 Jun 28;15(1):120.

10. 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.

11. Masson W, Muller S, Whittle R, Prior J, Helliwell T, Mallen C, et al. Possible giant cell arteritis symptoms are common in newly diagnosed patients with Polymyalgia Rheumatica: results from an incident primary care PMR cohort. BMC Rheumatol. 2017 Dec 13;1(1):7.

12. Kwok CS, Wong CW, Shufflebotham H, Brindley L, Fatima T, Shufflebotham A, et al. Early Readmissions After Acute Myocardial Infarction. Am J Cardiol. 2017 Sep 1;120(5):723–8.

13. Kwok CS, Wong CW, Rushton CA, Ahmed F, Cunnington C, Davies SJ, et al. Ultrafiltration for acute decompensated cardiac failure: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Cardiol. 2017 Feb 1;228:122–8.

14. 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):229–40.

15. Chue CD, Kwok CS, Wong CW, Patwala A, Barker D, Zaidi A, et al. Efficacy and safety of the subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator: a systematic review. Heart Br Card Soc. 2017 Sep;103(17):1315–22.

16. Campbell P, Hope K, Dunn KM. The pain, depression, disability pathway in those with low back pain: a moderation analysis of health locus of control. J Pain Res. 2017 Sep 29;10:2331–9.

17. 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.

18. 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.