Cultivating Joint Health: Unveiling the Remarkable Potential of Plant Bioactives in Tackling Osteoarthritis (DAVIDSONR_U24FMH)
- Application deadline
- 15 January 2024
- Funding type
- Competition Funded Project (Home and International)
- Start date
- October 2024
- Mode of study
- Programme type
Primary supervisor - Dr Rose Davidson
Secondary supervisor - Prof Ian Clark
We are seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic PhD candidate to join our research team to develop an automated in vitro plant bioactive screening and mechanism platform (DISCOVER) to accelerate the discovery of dietary interventions to improve the prevention and treatment of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints leading to chronic pain, immobility, and disability, affecting twice as many women as men. Global osteoarthritis cases have more than doubled since 1990, from 247.5 million to 528 million people (more than the population of the European Union). There are no effective disease-modifying drugs to treat osteoarthritis.
The PhD project will focus on integrating Design of Experiment (DOE) methodology with advanced statistical modelling to develop the DISCOVER platform and test plant bioactives in in vitro models of osteoarthritis for joint protection and synergistic interactions. The project will take candidate dietary plant bioactives or a synergistic combination of bioactives to in vivo models of osteoarthritis and explore mechanisms of action. The project aims to identify a dietary intervention that can be translated to the clinic for the prevention and/or treatment of osteoarthritis.
The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work with a dynamic and collaborative team of experts and will also have the opportunity to present their work at national and international conferences and to publish their research findings in high-impact journals. Training will be an interdisciplinary PhD project covering molecular and cell biology, analytical chemistry, automation, and advanced statistical modelling.
The ideal candidate should have a background in biomedicine, biology or related field. Experience in statistical modelling and automation would be advantageous but not essential. The candidate should have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, with the ability to work independently and as part of a team. Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English are required.
The standard minimum entry requirement for the studentship competition is first degree 2:1.
Acceptable first degree: Biological sciences, Biomedicine, Biomedical science, Biochemistry or related.
This PhD project is in a Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences competition for funded studentships. These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise UK (Home) fees, an annual stipend of £18,622 and £1,000 per annum for research training (RTSG). International applicants may apply but are required to secure additional funding to fund the difference between UK and overseas tuition fees (visit here for details of Home and Overseas fee rates).
Davidson RK, Jupp O, De Ferrars R, Kay CD, Culley KL, Norton R, Driscoll C, Vincent TL, Donell ST, Bao Y, Clark IM. Sulforaphane represses matrix-degrading proteases and protects cartilage from destruction in vitro and in vivo. Arthritis Rheum. 2013;65(12) doi:10.1002/art.38133
Davidson R, Gardner S, Jupp O, Bullough A, Butters S, Watts L, Donell S, Traka M, Saha S, Mithen R, Peffers M, Clegg P, Bao Y, Cassidy A, Clark I. Isothiocyanates are detected in human synovial fluid following broccoli consumption and can affect the tissues of the knee joint. Sci Rep. 2017;7(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-017-03629-5
Davidson RK, Green J, Gardner S, Bao Y, Cassidy A, Clark IM. Identifying chondroprotective diet derived bioactives and investigating their synergism. Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):17173. doi:10.1038/s41598- 018-35455-8
Long H, Liu Q, Yin H, Wang K, Diao N, Zhang Y, Lin J, Guo A. Prevalence Trends of Site‐Specific Osteoarthritis From 1990 to 2019: Findings From the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Arthritis & Rheumatology. 2022;74(7):1172-1183. doi:10.1002/art.42089
Thomas S, Browne H, Mobasheri A, Rayman MP. What is the evidence for a role for diet and nutrition in osteoarthritis? Rheumatology (Oxford). 2018 May 1;57(suppl_4):iv61-iv74. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/key011