Engineering an in vitro model for investigation of tissue ageing

Start date
1 January 2022
3 years
Application deadline
Funding source
Dunhill Medical Trust
Funding information

The studentship will cover stipend, tuition, and bench fees for UK students. The studentship will cover stipend, tuition and bench fees for UK students. Overseas students are welcome to apply; however, overseas tuition fees will not be covered but there is potential for an internal scholarship for outstanding overseas candidates.


Ageing is a process which affects all body tissues, yet the mechanisms underlying this process are poorly understood.  One reason for this is that it is a difficult process to study ex vivo; cells and tissues removed from the body will ultimately lose their phenotype and/or die in vitro.  Human samples can be difficult to obtain and are subject to much donor to donor variation.  Rodent models are routinely used as they age over a relatively short time period (compared to humans), however these can lack relevance when studying some human body systems and diseases. To combat this, improved in vitro models are needed to facilitate ageing research, and investigation of the  cellular changes that occur during this process. Work within Dr Lewis’ group has previously shown the ability of a multitude of scaffold materials to influence cell phenotype and alignment in vitro.  This project will validate and test an in vitro tissue model and utilise this model to manipulate the ageing cell phenotype.

This project is one of five studentships awarded by the Dunhill Medical Trust as part of the Engineering novel in-vitro Model systems to accelERate aGEing research doctoral training programme (EMERGE DTP).

Based in the lab of Dr Rebecca Lewis, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, this is a multidisciplinary project, involving materials science, life sciences and industrial collaborators. It will give the successful applicant an exciting opportunity to work across the scientific disciplines.

Related links
Dunhill Medical Trust awards

Eligibility criteria

Applicants should have a first-class or upper second-class honours or equivalents in Biomedical Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Biological Sciences, Physiology or similar subjects. A Masters degree in a biology-related subject is desirable.

All students are welcome to apply.

IELTS requirements: IELTS Academic: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6 in each individual category.

How to apply

Please apply for this PhD through the School of Veterinary Medicine PhD applications portal (click on the “Apply” tab). This position is available for a January 2022 start.  

Applicants are encouraged to contact Dr Rebecca Lewis ( to discuss the project informally prior to applying.

Application deadline

Contact details

Rebecca Lewis
01 VSM 02
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 682396

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