Endotoxin tolerization of macrophage-mediated inflammatory processes in an oral 3D-mucosal tissue model

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 01 October 2024


To apply please use the online application form. Simply search for PhD Biomedical Sciences (and select the entry point of October 2024), then clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship and name the project at the top of your personal statement.
Online application
Before applying, please ensure you have read the Doctoral College’s general information on applying for a research degree.
For more information on the admissions process, please contact research.degree.admissions@plymouth.ac.uk
Director of Studies: Dr Andrew Foey
2nd Supervisor: Dr Laure Ries
3rd Supervisor:  Dr Vehid Salih 
Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 01 October 2024

Project description

Mucosal macrophages can be activated and drive tissue-destructive inflammatory processes.  Endotoxin tolerization is a process of repeated microbial stimulation that suppresses inflammation and regulates this tissue destruction. These processes are understood in mono-culture, but poorly understood in poly-culture, whereby cell-to-cell interactions present in oral mucosal tissue can exert both positive and negative effects on these tolerance-fate decisions. We have developed an organotypic 3D immune-competent oral mucosal model to investigate the role of cellular interactions in modulating endotoxin tolerance. Such investigations will progress our understanding towards clinical translatability of controlling macrophage TLR-driven inflammatory responses in chronic periodontitis. The successful candidate will study these tolerance-fate decisions using a wide variety of macrophage-centric immune cellular and molecular techniques, investigating pattern recognition receptor-cytokine responses to oral pathogens, leading to adopting a proteomic approach in the identification of therapeutic targets for resolution of chronic inflammatory mucosal disease.


Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject or a relevant Masters qualification. 
If your first language is not English, you will need to meet the minimum English requirements for the programme, IELTS Academic score of 6.5 (with no less than 5.5 in each component test area) or equivalent.
The studentship is supported for 3 years and includes full Home tuition fees plus a stipend of £18,110 per annum 2023/24 rate (2024/25 rate TBC). The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover International fees will have to cover the difference between the Home and the International tuition fee rates (approximately £13,244 per annum 2024/25 rate). 
NB: The studentship is supported for three years of the four-year registration period. The fourth year is a self-funded ‘writing-up’ year.
If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr Andrew Foey.
Please see our how to apply for a research degree page for a list of supporting documents to upload with your application.
For more information on the admissions process generally, please visit our how to apply for a research degree webpage or contact The Doctoral College at research.degree.admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.
The closing date for applications is midnight, Friday 31 May 2024. 
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview during the week of 10 – 14 June 2024, shortly after the deadline. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received a response within six weeks of the closing date should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.