Proteotranscriptomic investigation of equine exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage: a potential new era of clinical diagnostics

This is an exciting fully funded PhD studentship opportunity to help advance our understanding of EIPH, a serious welfare issue for performance horses with particular focus on racing Thoroughbreds. The successful candidate will join a vibrant and nurturing group of senior and early-career academics with well-established clinical and research experience in equine veterinary medicine and biomarker fields.

Start date

1 October 2024


3 years

Application deadline

Funding source

University of Surrey

Funding information

3 years of stipend (currently £18,622 per year).


**The project can be adopted/modified to suit the successful candidates’ scientific interest in consultation with the supervisory team.**

Exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH) has serious welfare implications for racing Thoroughbreds (TB). Long-term prognosis is poor and the only recovery recommendation is arbitrary rest time between severe EIPH episodes or retiral. With no ability to monitor varying severity within the pulmonary vasculature and tissue in vivo there is a clear unmet need to qualify and quantify EIPH severity and progression. In human medicine, the advent of ‘omics’ technology and biomarker discovery has allowed for more precise disease classification leading to stratified disease management. Human acute lung injury changes are reflected in circulating microRNA biomarkers, before changes in the lung occur. Excitingly microRNAs can also act as ongoing lung remodelling markers. Proteomic profiling of human pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial lung disease has also revealed a circulating protein signature pattern. We hypothesise that the pathophysiology of EIPH leads to proteotranscriptomic changes at the tissue level with varying severity allowing us to identify signature patterns that differentiate between controls and EIPH cases. We further hypothesise that tissue level changes are reflected in circulating serum and such signature patterns can be utilised as biomarkers to determine disease severity and consequently develop a more targeted approach to managing EIPH. You will utilise our impressive bank of tissue samples and data collected from each horse to take a proteotranscriptomic and bioinformatics approach to start to answer some of the questions we do not know in relation to equine EIPH.

The interviews to commence mid-June 2024.

Eligibility criteria

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

This is basic research with a strong molecular and bioinformatic focus project and undergraduates with a degree in a related discipline would be expected. Medical and veterinary graduates are encouraged to apply. A Master’s degree in related subject is desirable and previous experience in statistical methodology is desirable. Potential students should provide an overview of how their qualifications and training fit with the project and can contact Dr S. K. Armstrong informally prior to application to discuss the project.

You will need to meet the minimum entry requirements for our 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 and the name of the relevant supervisor.

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Application deadline

Contact details

Susan K. Armstrong

Studentships at Surrey

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