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Experimental and personalised medicine

Mitochondrial networks
Mitochondrial networks in the body wall muscles of C. elegans

EPM focuses on research programmes designed to investigate specific medical challenges in multiple fields of medicine. The common feature of the theme is the dissection of pathophysiological mechanisms in specific disorders at the molecular to whole organ level with a view to developing new diagnostic & therapeutic approaches. Therefore the research in EPM is more applied with a much closer proximity to clinical material or patient data. The supervisors in this theme are predominantly clinical academics who have a direct experience of the conditions their laboratories are investigating with a focus on impacting patient outcomes.

In this theme PhD students will have the opportunity to develop a number of skills in 3 rotational projects of their first year before settling on a PhD project and named supervisor. These skills include a range of techniques in molecular biology, cell culture, animal models, laboratory & diagnostic imaging and epidemiological data analysis depending upon the requirements of the student. Projects are recommended to be chosen to enable development of new complimentary skills that would inform future research plans.

UCL is linked directly to University College Hospital, Great Ormond Street & Queens Square which received £110M in funding during the last round of Biomedical Research Centre awards, aswell as the Barts Heart Centre providing huge opportunities for biomedical research and innovation.

A range of fields is on offer at UCL including experimental models of human disease in cardiovascular, immunological, oncology, neurological and specific multisystem disorders which may be inherited or acquired e.g. sepsis.

Students are expected to write a dissertation at the end of each term and present this at a combined meeting of their peers and supervisors. Additonal training is offered according the students’ requirements including statistical and laboratory technique courses. UCL has unique access to world class scientists in many cross cutting areas of biomedicine and engineering. The epidemiological groups have access to national cohorts and genomic data with many opportunities to exploit these rich datasets.  Therefore, there is huge scope to develop an applied PhD in any aspect of Biomedicine through this theme.

Supervisors

  • Abraham, David

    Inflammation biology and tissue remodeling leading to repair, scarring and fibrosis.

  • Akbar, Arne

    Immunology

  • Bell, Robert

    Myocardial ischaemia and reperfusion injury

  • Brown, Jeremy

    Pathogenesis and prevention of respiratory infections

  • Casas, JP

    Genomics; informatics; therapeutics

  • Chambers, Rachel

    Respiratory Medicine; acute and chronic lung injury

  • Day, Richard

    Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine

  • Duchen, Michael

    Mitochondrial biology and calcium signaling in health and disease

  • Finan, Chris

    Genomics; informatics; therapeutics

  • Frankel, Paul

    Cell biology and Zebrafish models to investigate key signaling pathways required for Tumour progression

  • Hingorani, Aroon

    Genomics; informatics; therapeutics

  • Hughes, Alun

    Cardiovascular phenotyping, physiology and pharmacology

  • Janes, Sam

    Lung Cancer: Defining the key biological steps leading to lung cancer with a view to novel therapies

  • Jenkins, Dagan

    A novel drug treatment for craniosynostosis and its impact on mesenchymal stem cell-driven calvarial tissue repair

  • Kureshi, Alvena

    My research interests are focused on engineering 3D biomimetic collagen tissue models that mimic the architecture of tissues.

  • Lambiase, Pier

    Cardiac arrhythmias (Electrophysiology) & Devices

  • Lovering, Ruth

    Bioinformatics and functional gene annotation

  • Mahadeo, Vishwanie

    Regulation of gene expression in development and disease

  • Mole, Sara

    Genetics and Genomics Medicine, Section Genetics & Epigenetics in Health and Disease

  • Moss, Stephen

    The innate immune system and retinal degeneration:

  • Ponticos, Markella

    Smooth muscle cell biology, cell differentiation energy metabolism and glycolysis.

  • Ruhrberg, Christiana

    Molecular mechanism of congenital vascular and neuronal diseases

  • Sattelle, David

    Molecular Neurobiology

  • Scambler, Peter

    Congenital Malformation: Genetic and Developmental Basis of Cardiovascular Defects

  • Selwood, David

    Multiple sclerosis and related therapies. (Medicinal chemistry, protein crystallography and cell biology)

  • Singer, Mervyn

  • Stoker, Andrew

    Investigating the anti-tumour potential of retinoic acids in neuroblastoma: profiling of novel primary cell populations and enhancing retinoid actions

  • Straathof, Karin

    T-cell immunotherapy for childhood cancer

  • Stuckey, Daniel

    Preclinical cardiovascular imaging and regenerative medicine

  • Taylor, Andrew

    Cardiovascular imaging (MR and CT); cardiovascular engineering; cardiovascular devices; precision and predictive medicine; paediatric cardiovascular big data studies

  • Thomas, Geraint

    Analysis and stratification of paediatric brain tumours using advanced Raman imaging technology.

  • Torra, Ines

    Transcriptional regulation in Immunometabolism and Cardiovascular disease

  • Turowski, Patric

    Cell biology of endothelial and epithelial blood-neural barriers

  • Vergani, Paola

    New therapies for cystic fibrosis

  • Waters, Aoife

    Targeting Telomere Maintenance as a Therapeutic Strategy for Refractory Kidney Disease

  • Yellon, Derek

    Neuroprotection by remote ischaemic conditioning in acute ischaemic stroke

  • Yellon, Derek

    Cardio-oncology

Theme leaders

  • Pier Lambiase

    Professor Pier Lambiase is an academic Cardiologist with a special interest in the treatment of heart rhythm disorders. His research group consists of biomedical engineers and basic scientists investigating disease mechanisms performing invasive and non-invasive heart mapping studies in patients with inherited & acquired heart rhythm disorders. The group also study population level ECG and genomic data in order to identify new biomarkers of sudden death risk.

Current students

  • Alexandra Petrache

    Having had the misfortune of seeing the effects of Alzheimer's Disease on a close friend of my parents' , I came to realise the burden it places on patients, family members and friends. I decided to understand it better and therefore chose to do my PhD project with Dr. Afia Ali at the UCL School of Pharmacy, hoping to do my part in curing this debilitating disease.

  • Cato Hastings

    I am interested in applying mathematics in order to solve biological problems. Working in the field of developmental biology, my PhD project studies the formation of the primitive streak, which is the first sign of left-right symmetry in vertebrates. By creating a mathematical model of primitive streak formation, I hope to probe the dynamics of cross-embryo communication. Such methods of communication are key in understanding the development of identical twins. My supervisors are Claudio Stern and Karen Page.

  • Giacomo Stanzani

    I am interested in understanding the mechanisms of organ dysfunction in critical illness, and specifically in sepsis, to identify possible novel therapeutic targets. My current research examines the role of mitochondria in sepsis-induced cardiac dysfunction.

  • Helen Fraser

    We are living longer at a rate of about 6 hours per day but we continue to spend around one quarter of our lives in poor health. Drugs have been identified that increase healthy lifespan and overall lifespan in laboratory animals (Partridge, Nature, 2016). My research involves using Mendelian Randomisation, a computational approach based on human DNA, that predicts whether drugs targeting particular biomarkers will prolong healthy lifespan in humans as well (Hingorani & Humphries, Lancet, 2005).

  • Mira Chawda

    Having had a varied research career in both academia and industry, my research interests and passion has always been within the field of immunology. My CASE PhD is focused on the cryopreservation of thymic tissue to isolate thymic epithelial cells (TEC) to develop cellular therapies and restore thymus function in athymic infants, and to identify if tolerance to heart transplants can be induced by donor thymic tissue in heart transplant recipients. I am supervised by Professor Tessa Crompton and Dr Susan Ross at UCL GOS ICH, and by Dr Peter Kilbride, our industrial collaborator at Asymptote Ltd (GE Healthcare).

  • Miroslava Katsur

    Reperfusion of the ischaemic heart tissue results in extensive harm to cardiomyocytes which cannot be prevented successfully with any of currently existing cardioprotective treatments treatments. Exosomes from different cell sources were shown to be cardioprotective in various in vitro and in vivo models of ischaemia. We aim to establish in vitro conditions of hypoxia/reoxygenation, discover what cells are best as a source of cardioprotective exosomes, and we want understand how exosomes confer cardioprotection.

  • Muhammed Haque

    I’ve always been greatly fascinated by the application of chemistry in the treatment of diseases, particularly against those such which are very challenging to treat. My research interests therefore attempt to use my skills and knowledge in chemistry for the development of appropriate novel therapeutics. I like to be involved in interdisciplinary research projects, using exciting chemistry methodologies and biological testing to validate and improve upon drugs and other therapies.

  • Panagiota Chondrou

    Cancer is still a major cause of death. After decades of study and a lot of clinical trials many forms of cancer remain incurable. The principle ways of cancer treatment are based on: surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. New modalities such as therapeutic hyperthermia have attained success. Recently, a novel therapy has been developed and is based on directing hyperthermia to cancer cells with the use of magnetic nanoparticles that aims to eliminate the side effect of current radio-or chemotherapy. My study will focus on the most cutting-edge research that has recently focused on the combination of heat treatment with traditional cancer drugs. We believe that the synergistic effect will enhance the treatment efficacy of both components compared to single mode of treatments.

  • Rupert Faraway

    I work on long interspersed nuclear elements, a type of retrotransposon that accounts for over 20% of the human genome. My work is focussed on how these elements shape evolution, how they regulate RNA processing and their role particularly in brain development.

  • Tsvetana Stoilova

    Little is known about the molecular mechanisms which transform the lung architecture in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an invariably fatal condition. In my current project we utilise free circulating DNA in the blood as a novel biomarker in IPF patients as well as single cell analysis of lung tissue. My aim is to identify genetic changes associated with the disease which will accelerate drug development. This approach fits with my interest in better understanding disease pathology which translates in novel therapies.