Alteration of the immuno-metabolism axis in pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases

A three and a half year, fully-funded studentship is offered in our laboratory in Immunology and Metabolism. This specific project looks at physiological factors alerting healthy aging and leading to pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases both at the cellular and biochemical levels.

Start date
1 January 2022
4 years
Application deadline
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Funding source
University of Surrey
Funding information

UKRI-aligned stipend (£15,609 pa for 2021-22), approved University of Surrey fees and a research budget. 


This studentship aims at exploring the metabolic and immunological mechanisms involved at the biological onset of auto-immune diseases. Using various and unique models as well as clinical samples, you will be able to explore the relationship between resident immune cells and epithelial cells and the intrinsic triggers leading to the breach of homeostasis. You will also be able to explore the role played by self-reactive T cells and their cognate peptides.

You will be able to explore the associated altered immune-metabolic pathways using deep single-cell analysis with access to single-cell analysis, advanced imaging, latest available spectral flow cytometer. You will also benefit from state-of-the-art platforms and facilities available at the University of Surrey in the fields of Nutrition, metabolomic analysis and cell analysis.

The project will benefit from collaboration with international and, potentially, industry partners. 

Eligibility criteria

A first or upper second-class honours degree from the UK (or equivalent qualification from international Institutions) in a relevant subject area.

Applications from UK and international students are welcome. 

English Langauge requirements 

An IELTS Academic of 6.5 or above with 6 in each individual category (or equivalent qualification from other agencies). Full details on country-specific entry requirements can be found on the Biosciences and Medicine PhD page

How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Biosciences and Medicine PhD page, on the 'Apply' tab. Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application.

Please note this project has an alternative start date of 1st October 2022. 

Application deadline

Contact details

Enquiries about this studentship are encouraged.

Paul A. Townsend
Olivier NF Cexus

Research groups

This project will be undertaken in the Co-lab formed by the Cell Stress and Apoptosis (Prof Paul A. Townsend) and the Immunology and metabolism (Dr Olivier NF. Cexus) groups, and as such will benefit from both group expertise. 

Research facilities 

The project will be undertaken in the Immunology Labs at the Dorothy Hodgkin Building of the Faculty of Health and Medicine Sciences at the University of Surrey. The student will have access to various platforms in flow cytometry, Imaging and single cell-sequencing. The student will also benefit from the strong expertise in multi ‘omic analysis within the University and close Industrial collaborators. The project sits in the centre of the general lab vision of understanding the metabolic changes associated with development and progression of various pathologies such as cancer, autoimmunity, susceptibility to viral infections, and aging.


Studentships at Surrey

We have a wide range of studentship opportunities available.