Medicine: Swansea University Research Excellence Scholarship: Understanding the Impact of Nano-sized Particles from Anthropogenic and Engineered Sources

Closing date: 22 January 2018

Key Information

Swansea University Research Excellence Scholarships (SURES)

Swansea University is proud to offer 15 fully-funded PhD scholarships for students commencing study in October 2018 or January 2019.

The scholarships will be awarded on the basis of student excellence across a portfolio of 34 potential projects.

Project title: Understanding the impact of nano-sized particles from anthropogenic and engineered sources upon the development and regulation of the lower respiratory tract and its immune function

Start date: October 2018

Air pollution is known to exacerbate airway disease in children and has been linked to an increased risk of developing and worsening of asthma during their development to adulthood. With the inevitable exposure to engineered nanoparticles (NPs), due to nanotechnology, it is imperative to understand the impact that nano-sized particles from various sources, and of differing physical and chemical characteristics have upon human health in this regard. This project aims to elucidate the action of diesel exhaust particles (DEPs) and other NP types on airway epithelial integrity and immune function that contribute to the development and exacerbation of asthma in children. Our hypothesis is that age and disease status modify the inflammatory effects of DEPs and NPs on airway epithelial cells and the immune system. There are two main goals; (i) to investigate the response of nasal epithelial cells from children and adults with or without asthma to DEPs and other NPs including translocation studies and elucidation of the underpinning immunological mechanisms. (ii) To determine the effects of age and disease status on the uptake of DEPs and other NPs by monocytes and the ensuing biological effects. The focus of this project will be to better understand the effects of air pollution on the respiratory health and inflammatory response of children and to inform public health bodies and regulatory authorities. This information will further enable a greater understanding of the wider implications of incidental and intentional exposures to NPs on epithelial barrier integrity and immune function in childhood.

The successful applicant will have access to our Postgraduate Research Student Training programmes.

Eligibility

Candidates should have (or expect to obtain) a first class honours degree (or equivalent) and/or a master's degree with distinction in a related subject area (immunology, toxicology, air pollution, particle toxicology, in vitro, ex vivo; human health, human development).

The ideal candidate will also have experience of working with data and statistical analyses.

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK/EU candidates only.

Funding

The scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £14,553 for 3 years. 

There will also be £1,000 per annum available for research expenses such as travel, accommodation, field trips and conference attendance.

How to Apply

To apply please complete and return the following documents to Dr Vivienne Jenkins (pgrsures@swansea.ac.uk) quoting reference SUMS1:

Student applications will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Literary and Academic attainments (60%)
  • Demonstrable esteem indicators i.e. ambassadorial skills, instincts and opportunities to demonstrate leadership, experience and interest in extracurricular and community activities (40%)

Informal enquiries before the deadline are welcome and should be directed to Dr Martin Clift (m.j.d.clift@swansea.ac.uk / +44 (0)1792 602742), Professor Cathy Thornton (c.a.thornton@swansea.ac.uk / +44 (0)1792 602122) or Professor Shareen Doak (s.h.doak@swansea.ac.uk / +44 (0)1792 295388).