Fully Funded British Heart Foundation PhD Studentship in ‘Cellular and molecular mechanisms of atrial fibrillation’

Applications are invited for a 3-year PhD studentship starting in October 2024 to study the role of cellular crosstalk in atrial fibrillation using engineered human cardiac tissue.

Start date

1 October 2024


3 years

Application deadline

Funding information

The Studentship is fully funded by a competitive grant from the British Heart Foundation. Funding covers tuition fees at the Home rate, associated research expenses, funds for training/attending conferences and an annual tax-free stipend at BHF rates (currently starting at £19,919 per annum) for all three years.


Applications are invited for a 3-year, fully funded British Heart Foundation PhD studentship within the Cardiovascular Research Group at the University of Surrey. We are internationally recognised for our work on cardiac diseases and offer state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technologies. The student will join a multidisciplinary team and benefit from a full programme of training in research and transferable skills organised by our Doctoral Training Centre. 

Project Description

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common disease in which the upper chambers of the heart (atria) do not contract in synchrony with the rest of the heart. AF can reduce the heart's efficiency at pumping blood and can lead to several cardiovascular diseases including stroke, myocardial infarction, and sudden cardiac death. The causes of AF are not fully understood but relate to disruptions in the electrical impulses which stimulate atrial contraction. The atria consist of contractile myocytes and supporting fibroblasts, however how the communication between these two cell types affects the function of the atria and the initiation/progression of AF remains largely unexplored. This project will investigate the functional and molecular communication between atrial cells using engineered cardiac tissue generated from human induced pluripotent stem cells. The successful candidate will be trained in relevant methods and procedures, including cell culture, cardiac electrophysiology, molecular biology/protein isolation and characterization, advanced microscopy, and multi-omics.

The University of Surrey is located on a beautiful, leafy campus in Guildford, just 30 miles from London and benefitting from excellent rail and road connections.

Eligibility criteria

You will need to meet the minimum entry requirements for our Biosciences and Medicine PHD programme.

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

Applicants should hold (or be about to obtain) a first or upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject area including; medical sciences, biomedical sciences, biomedical engineering, molecular biology, physiology, biochemistry or related disciplines. 

Self-motivation, deep interest in research, ability to think and work independently, fluency in English language and good oral and written communication skills are essential.

An MSc in cardiovascular/molecular science with merit or distinction and/or previous research experience in molecular biology or physiology would be advantageous.


How to apply

Initial applications must include the following and should be emailed directly to p.camelliti@surrey.ac.uk 

1. A CV/resume which includes modules taken with grades (or expected grades)

2. A supporting statement highlighting your primary motivation for applying for a PhD studentship and to this project in particular, outlining any research experience and your career ambitions

3. Contact details for two academic referees (include any recent research mentor or supervisor) 

4. Certificates and transcripts from all your current/previous degrees

5. Official English Language transcript (IELTS or TOEFL), if applicable

Shortlisted candidates will be contacted directly. Interviews are expected in the second week of July. The start date is October 2024.

Informal enquiries

Please contact Dr Patrizia Camelliti (p.camelliti@surrey.ac.uk).

Studentship FAQs

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

Application deadline

Contact details

Patrizia Camelliti
31 AY 04
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 682451
E-mail: p.camelliti@surrey.ac.uk

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