British Heart Foundation PhD studentship

Applications are invited for a British Heart Foundation fully-funded studentship available within the School of Life Sciences, Pharmacy and Chemistry, which is part of Kingston University's Faculty of Health, Science, Social Care and Education.

  • Fee level of sponsorship: UK fee level
  • Annual stipend: £22,278 (will increase slightly each year)

The project

Regulation of cardiomyocyte protein synthesis and pathological hypertrophy by tip41-like protein (TIPRL): a regulator of mTOR signalling

Heart disease is one of the most common causes of mortality in the Western world. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie the development of heart failure have been intensely studied for many years.

During the project, the student will be given training in contemporary techniques underpinning cell culture, cell and molecular biology, confocal microscopy and protein biochemistry. The project itself will aim to understand the regulation of intracellular signalling and protein synthesis by the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)/type 2A protein phosphatase/tip41-like protein (TIPRL) axis and their roles in the development of pathological hypertrophic growth of heart tissue.

Mammalian cells express three type 2A protein phosphatase (T2APP) catalytic subunits PP2Ac/PP4c/PP6c, each of which associate with the mammalian homologue (TIPRL) of the type 2A interacting protein of 41kDa (TIP41), a regulator of target of rapamycin (TOR) signalling in yeasts. In mammalian non-cardiac cells, this association inhibits T2APP activity and consequently augments mTOR signalling in response to numerous stimuli, which is currently undefined in the heart. Therefore, this proposal will determine the subcellular localisation of TIPRL and whether TIPRL associates with and inhibits T2APP activity in cardiomyocytes.

We will then determine:

  1. Whether the two main cardiac T2APPs (PP2Ac or PP6c) regulate mTOR signalling
  2. Whether TIPRL itself regulates mTOR signalling
  3. Whether TIPRL constitutes a phosphorylation target of mTOR.

To understand whether TIPRL has any T2APP-independent cellular activity, we will also study mTOR signalling in the presence of a mutant TIPRL protein that is unable to associate with T2APPs. Ultimately, altered TIPRL protein expression (silenced by siRNA or adenovirally-overexpressed) on mitogen-induced cardiomyocyte protein synthesis and pathological cellular hypertrophy will also be determined.

The successful candidate will spend much of their time at Kingston University working with Dr AK Snabaitis within the newly formed Faculty of Health, Science, Social Care and Education (HSSCE). When appropriate the student will also spend time in the laboratory of project collaborator Dr J Burgoyne (King's College London).

Eligibility

The successful candidate will be expected to have obtained a minimum 2:1 (upper second) degree classification in a subject related to the biological sciences such as biochemistry, biomedical sciences, cell and molecular biology.

Overseas applicants can't be considered for this project.

Timeline

  • Deadline for applications: 1pm (GMT) on Monday 26 February 2024
  • Interviews: week beginning 11 March 2024 (online)
  • Expected start date: April – mid-May 2024
  • Duration: 3 years full-time

How to apply

Complete an online application form via our How to apply for a research degree page (choose Faculty of Health, Science, Social Care and Education, MPhil/PhD).

The following must be included with your application:

  • The title of the project (upload this via the project proposal link)
  • An academic CV
  • Copies of your academic certificates (degree level onwards)
  • A covering letter stating why you consider you are suitable for the position, highlighting what you have studied in your undergraduate degree, including any laboratory projects (maximum 2 pages A4)
  • A copy of your English language qualification, if applicable (see ‘English Language' above)

A project proposal is not required.

Please ensure all required documents are submitted together with your application form as we are unable to consider incomplete applications.

You should assume your application has been unsuccessful if you have not heard from us by four weeks after the closing date.

Contact information

For further details and to discuss a prospective application, email Dr Andrew K Snabaitis via a.snabaitis@kingston.ac.uk.

Faculty of Health, Science, Social Care and Education