PhD Studentships, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University, UK

PhD Studentship – The Immunobiology of Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Skeletal Tissue Engineering

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a significant healthcare burden and preventing or slowing its onset would alleviate considerable patient disability and suffering. The use of cell therapies offers an exciting opportunity to treat early stage osteochondral lesions that otherwise would go on to initiate osteoarthritic changes. One strategy is to use the patients own cells alone or in conjunction with a biomaterial scaffold to rebuild the diseased tissue. As part of the Arthritis Research UK Tissue Engineering Centre our research is focused on understanding the immunophenotype of adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and chondrocytes or osteoblasts derived from this source. Approaches to the isolation of MSCs will be investigated and processes implemented to current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) ensuring their translation to clinical use. The immunobiology of MSCs and chondrocytes or osteoblasts differentiated in culture will be investigated by a number of approaches including flow cytometry.

Value of the Award and Eligibility
The award covers University fees at the UK/EU rate and a stipend matched to the minimum Research Council recommended stipend, £13,590 (2010/11). Candidates from outside UK/EU may apply but tuition fees will only be paid at the UK/EU rate.

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Person Specification
Applicants will be expected to hold a first class or upper second class honours degree in a Biological Sciences subject or Biomedical/Mechanical/Chemical Engineering plus normally further research experience and / or a higher degree such as for example a MRes.

How to Apply
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application form inserting the reference number CL044 and selecting “Doctor of Philosophy (Medical Sciences) – Cellular Medicine’ as the programme of study. Only mandatory fields need to be completed (no personal statement required) and a covering letter, CV and (if English is not your first language) a copy of your English language qualifications must be attached. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the reference number CL044 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project.

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You should also send your covering letter and CV to Prof Anne Dickinson, Academic Haematological Sciences, Leech Building, the Medical School, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4HH, U.K or e-mail to

Closing date for applications
25th March 2011, although prompt application is advised as this post is only available until a suitable candidate is appointed.

Further Information
For further details, please contact Prof Anne Dickinson by e-mail (

Supervisors: Professor A Dickinson, Institute of Cellular Medicine,
Dr X Wang, Institute of Cellular Medicine, Dr M Rae, Institute of Cellular Medicine
Sponsor: Faculty of Medical Sciences
Duration of the award: 3 years
Faculty of Medical Sciences
Reference Code: CL044

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