A collaborative approach to biomarker discovery for equine grass sickness

This studentship offers a fully funded training in mass spectrometry-based proteomics which will be applied to biomarker discovery for an often-fatal dysautonomia of horses called equine grass sickness.

Start date

1 October 2024


3 years

Application deadline

Funding source

Moredun Foundation Equine Grass Sickness Fund and University of Surrey

Funding information

  • UKRI standard stipend £19,237 for 2024-25 (with inflationary increase of 6% p.a. for 2025-26)
  • Student registration fees covered
  • Proteomics short course funding £2,500
  • UK conference attendance (x2) £900 


This multi-disciplinary project will capitalise on complementary expertise and resources at the Moredun Research Institute in Edinburgh and the Schools of Bioscience and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey. The project aims to identify biomarkers for the frequently fatal disease equine grass sickness using state-of-the-art analytical methods. Biological samples from diseased and normal horses will be subjected to detailed characterisation of their protein “fingerprint.” Advanced statistical methods will be used to identify proteins that might be diagnostically useful. The diagnostic utility of the potential biomarkers identified will be investigated in a study that takes serial samples from a group of horses at high risk of equine grass sickness. 

Exciting opportunities will be available for a student with an interest in science communication, to work with the EGS team at Moredun (Equine Grass Sickness Fund – A registered charity in the UK raising funds specifically for research into grass sickness). It is anticipated that this could involve training to establish networks and raise awareness of this disease with inter-disciplinary researchers, equine veterinary practitioners, the equine industry and horse owners, with a focus on the south of England.

Later start dates may be possible.

More information about our previous work on equine grass sickness can be found here.

Eligibility criteria

Open to candidates who pay UK/home rate fees. See UKCISA for further information.

The successful candidate will have a relevant first degree (foe example, veterinary medicine, biological, biomedical or bioveterinary science), enthusiasm for proteomic science and a willingness to travel within the UK in pursuit of project objectives. Experience with horses is an advantage but not essential. 

You will need to meet the minimum entry requirements for our Veterinary Medicine and Science PhD programme.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Veterinary Medicine and Science PhD programme page. In place of a research proposal, you should upload a document stating the title of the project that you wish to apply for, the name of the relevant supervisor, and a brief explanation of how you’re training to date, and previous experience are a good fit with this studentship. Shortlisted candidates will be asked to address this issue in much more detail at interview.

Studentship FAQs

Read our studentship FAQs to find out more about applying and funding.

Application deadline

Contact details

Chris Proudman
01 VSM 02
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 684548
E-mail: c.proudman@surrey.ac.uk

Studentships at Surrey

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