Cardiff School of Biosciences PhD Studentship: Mechanotransduction Mechanisms In The Meniscus And Their Role In Osteoarthritis (PhD Studentship)
Reference Number: R672
Key Scholarship Information
This is a Cardiff University President's Research Scholarship, part of a new £4M investment to coincide with the inauguration of Professor Sir Martin Evans (Nobel Prize for Medicine 2007) as Cardiff’s new President. All of the University Schools and Research Centres offering opportunities under the programme have demonstrated the real potential of the Scholarships to contribute to research excellence through significant, challenging and original PhD research projects and excellent PhD supervision and support. Other attractive features of the Scholarships include the presence of multiple President’s Scholars in each of the research areas and the guaranteed exposure of President’s Scholars to innovative technologies, theories, methodological approaches, and debates. More information on the President's Research Scholarships scheme is available here: www.cardiff.ac.uk/presidents
Project Title: Mechanotransduction Mechanisms In The Meniscus And Their Role In Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) is characterised by degeneration of the articular cartilage as well as the meniscus of the knee joint. Menisci provide important biomechanical functions to the knee such as load-bearing, transmission of the load across the joint and shock absorption although to date, little is known about the effect of mechanical loading on the meniscus. Several studies have implicated the cytoskeleton in transducing extracellular mechanical signals to the nucleus. A recent study and our own studies have indicated that there are structural differences in cytoskeletal organisation between normal and OA human articular cartilage chondrocytes however, relatively little is known of the cytoskeletal organisation in meniscus. In the outer region, the elliptical fibro-chondrocytes contain an extensive cytoskeleton comprising long and short tubulin and vimentin structures, whilst retaining ‘cage-like’ appearances in the spherical inner meniscal cells, the latter being comparable with our observations of cytoskeletal organisation in articular chondrocytes. Unlike articular cartilage mechanotransduction, there is limited information concerning meniscal compostition, load-induced intracellular signalling mechanisms and the contribution damaged menisci make towards knee pathology. Analysis of the interplay between mechanical load and downstream biological consequences will enhance our currently limited understanding of mechanotransduction in the meniscus.
Specific questions to be addressed in this project are:
1. Is there a difference in the organisation and/or content of the cytoskeletal elements between normal and OA meniscus?
2. Does the cytoskeleton of meniscal fibro-chondrocytes play a role in mechanotransduction?
3. Do OA and normal meniscal fibro-chondrocytes respond differently to mechanical load?
The student will gain expertise in a wide range of cell biology and molecular techniques such as mechanical loading of tissues and isolated cells, confocal microscopy, quantitative PCR and Western blotting.
Blain E.J. (2009) Involvement of the cytoskeletal elements in articular cartilage homeostasis and pathology. Int. J. Exp. Pathol. 90(1):1-15.
Start Date: October 2012
The full studentship (fees and stipend) is available to UK or EU students only. The total stipend was £13,590 per annum for 2011 - this amount will increase each yaer. Applications from other candidates with their own sources of funding are welcomed. Outstanding students will be eligible for the award of a prestigious President’s Scholarship. http://www.cf.ac.uk/presidents/
This project is part of the recently funded Arthritis Research UK Biomechanics and Bioengineeing Centre of Excellence http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/arcbbc/index.html
Applicants should have an Upper Second Class Honours Degree or above, in an appropriate subject.
Opportunities exist to work across academic disciplines such as Biomedical Sciences, Engineering and in Physiotherapy, Orthopaedics, Rheumatology settings.
How to Apply
Applications should be made online to Prof Vic Duance, School of Biosciences:
Application Deadline: Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.
Number of awards: This project is in competition with 5 other projects in the Arthritis Research UK Biomechanics and Bioengineering Centre at Cardiff. Funding will be given to 2 projects.
For further details on project, please contact the project supervisors:
Dr Emma Blain: Blain@cardiff.ac.uk +44 (0)29 20 875419
Prof Victor Duance: Duance@cardiff.ac.uk +44 (0)29 208 74111
For administrative/application queries, please contact:
Mrs Swapna Khandavalli: KhandavalliS@cardiff.ac.uk +44 (0)29208 7524