Does blood vessel stiffness influence smooth muscle cell migrational capacity during vascular dis...

University of East Anglia
September 11 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) are the most abundant cell type in the blood vessel wall and normally exist in a differentiated, contractile phenotype, to maintain vascular tone and assist blood flow. However, during vascular injury, VSMCs dedifferentiate and revert to a migratory phenotype to enable blood vessel repair.

Enhanced VSMC migration is observed during ageing and vascular disease, including atherosclerosis, aneurysm and hypertension. Blood vessel stiffness also increases during vascular ageing and disease. Although much research has focussed on how soluble factors influence VSMC migration, our understanding of the impact of vessel stiffness remains limited. Therefore studying how changes in blood vessel stiffness influence VSMC migration will increase our understanding of vascular disease progression and potentially yield new therapeutic targets to manipulate VSMC migration.

During the PhD, it will be investigated how matrix stiffness influences VSMC migration. The successful candidate will gain extensive experience in a wide range of state-of-the-art biophysical, cell biological and imaging techniques including video time-lapse microscopy, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP), fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and traction force microscopy (TFM). In addition, you will gain hands on experience in fabricating hydrogels of defined stiffness and atomic force microscopy.

Interviews will be held w/c 22 January 2018.

Funding notes

This PhD project is in a Faculty of Science competition for funded studentships.  These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise home/EU fees, an annual stipend of £14,553 and £1000 per annum to support research training.  Overseas applicants may apply but they are required to fund the difference between home/EU and overseas tuition fees (in 2017/18 the difference is £13,805 for the Schools of CHE, PHA & MTH (Engineering), and £10,605 for CMP & MTH but fees are subject to an annual increase).

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess