Role of Calcium Calmodulin Kinase II in modulating lipid metabolism in the articular cartilage and osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA), is a major musculoskeletal condition affecting 240 million people worldwide for which no cure exists other than symptomatic relief and surgical joint replacement. Progressive and irreversible articular cartilage degradation is a hallmark of the disease. The development of novel therapeutic strategies relies on a better understanding on the molecular mechanisms deregulated during disease progression to identify new pharmacological targets.

Start date
1 July 2020
Duration
3 years
Application deadline
Funding information

The studentship will cover stipend, tuition and bench fees for both British and European students. Overseas students are welcome to apply; however, overseas tuition fees will not be covered. 

About

We previously showed that Calcium Calmodulin Kinase II (CaMKII) is involved in modulating the expression of key phenotypic markers in articular chondrocytes, the only cell type present in the articular cartilage and responsible for the maintenance of the biomechanical properties of the tissue (Nalesso et al., Journal of Cell Biology 2011).

Aims of the projects:

A fully funded PhD studentship is available in Dr Giovanna Nalesso’s laboratory at the University of Surrey in Guildford, Surrey, UK . The aim of the project will be to characterise the role of CaMKII in the articular cartilage and osteoarthritis. The student will focus on investigating the role of the kinase in regulating lipid metabolism.

The student will overexpress or inhibit CaMKII in the articular cartilage by using adenoviral vectors. He/she will use gene and protein expression analysis, mass spectrometry applied to lipidomic analysis as well as tools to measure mitochondrial activity to determine the effect of the gain and loss of function experiments.

The student will be based at the Manor Park campus of the University of Surrey located in Guildford, which is only 40-minutes away by train from London. Mass-spec lipidomic analysis and measurement of mitochondrial activity will be done respectively in collaboration with Dr Barbara Fielding at the University of Surrey and with Dr Michelangelo Campanella’s in London.

The results of this highly translational project will result in high impact academic publications and intellectual property. We are looking for a candidate who is highly motivated to conduct world-leading research.

This is a 3-year studentship one starting in July 2020 (the starting date could be postponed to October depending on the development of the current COVID-19 emergency).

Eligibility criteria

Essential Criteria: 

  • MSc degree or European equivalent degree in a relevant scientific or biomedical discipline, acquired or to be acquired 
    before the beginning of the PhD. 
  • Self-driven, enthusiastic and a good communicator 
  • Excellent organisational skills 
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Students without English as first language MUST provide a language certificate (overall IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent) before the beginning of the studentship.

Desirable: 

  • Experience in any of the techniques cited in the aims above. 

The studentship will cover stipend, tuition and bench fees for both British and European students. Overseas students are welcome to apply; however, overseas tuition fees will not be covered. 

How to apply

To apply prospective students will need to contact the PI Giovanna Nalesso via email who will provide them full instructions on how to apply.

 


Application deadline

Contact details

Giovanna Nalesso
E-mail: g.nalesso@surrey.ac.uk

Dr Nalesso’s group

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