3 researchers around screen

Key information

Application deadline:
28 January 2018

Interviews will be held in February 2018

Professor Julia Gorelik
Professor Jane Mitchell
Dr Nicholas Kirkby

British Heart Foundation - Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine (ICTEM) 4-year MRes/PhD Studentship, Imperial College London



Project title: The role of cellular microdomains in prostacyclin pharmacology in cardiac myocytes.

Supervisors: Professor Julia Gorelik (j.gorelik@imperial.ac.uk), Professor Jane Mitchell (j.a.mitchell@imperial.ac.uk), Dr Nicholas Kirkby (n.kirkby@imperial.ac.uk).

Applications are invited for a British Heart Foundation (BHF) 4 year MRes/PhD studentship starting in October 2018 at the Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine (ICTEM), Hammersmith Campus. The studentships are fully funded through a BHF training grant made to Professor Sian Harding and it will cover tuition fees (at the Home/EU rate) and a tax-free stipend starting from £22,278 per annum for a total of 4 years. In addition, there is a consumable allowance of £50,000 and £1000 travel award per studentship.

The Cardiovascular Sections of the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, are located within the Royal Brompton Hospital and Hammersmith Campus. At the Brompton Campus scientists work alongside clinicians to develop and translate novel therapeutic findings to help those with cardiovascular diseases. At the Hammersmith campus the National Heart and Lung Institute has been united in the new state-of-the art Imperial College Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine, where they join collaborators such as the MRC Genetics and Genomics Unit. The present scheme takes advantage of new adjacencies with jointly supervised projects to explore novel areas in cardiovascular and stem cell science. 

Imperial College London provides excellent opportunities for research student training. All students benefit from a full programme of training in research and transferable skills organised through the Graduate School, the quality of which has been recognised several times at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards.

Project summary 

The BHF 4-year MRes/PhD studentships at ICTEM typically comprises a 1-year MRes in Biomedical Research, followed by a 3-year PhD. During the MRes year, students undertake two laboratory projects which will prepare them for the Ph.D.

This research project seeks to address an important unanswered questions within cardiovascular biology; how does prostacyclin signal within the heart. Understanding this is critical because prostacyclin is a key cardioprotective hormone released by various cells within the cardiovascular system. Prostacyclin works on cells by activating cell surface IP receptors and cytosolic nuclear peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor β (PPARβ). Both IP and PPARβ activate pathways linked to adenylate cyclase and increase the intracellular signalling molecule cAMP. However we do not know how prostacyclin activated adenylate cyclase compartmentalises within the cell and as such we do not know how these receptors operate at the cellular microdomain level.

 We hypothesized that in cardiomyocyte microdomains, such as those associated with T-tubules and caveolae cAMP signaling is confined and associated with endogenous prostacyclin and related drugs. This signaling compartments change in heart failure.

The proposed project will characterize the location of prostacyclin receptors at the surface structure of cardiomyocytes in health and disease using the state-of-the-art techniques, including scanning ion conductance microscopy , FRET and their combinations.

The successful candidate will be based at the Professor’s Julia Gorelik and Jane Mitchell  laboratories at the  Hammersmith Campus and Brompton Campus for a period of their study. They will also join a cohort of PhD students affiliated with the BHF Centres at Imperial, with particular interests in regenerative medicine and novel technologies.  They will also link to the wider Imperial network through activities such as the Imperial Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Network.

Applicant Requirements

Applicants must hold, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in an appropriate subject from a recognised academic institution. Candidates must fulfil College admissions criteria and meet BHF residency requirements.

How to Apply 

To apply, please email Jinata Subba (j.subba@imperial.ac.uk) with the following documents.

  • Your CV
  • The names and addresses of at least two academic referees
  • A personal statement of no more than 1,000 words explaining your interest in the project 

Please assume that your application has not been successful if you have not heard from us within a month of the closing date.

Closing date for all applications: Sunday 28 January 2018 

Interviews will be held in February 2018