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We invite postgraduate research proposals in a number of disease areas that impact significantly on patient care. We focus on exploring the mechanisms of disease, understanding the ways disease impacts patients’ lives, utilising new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques and developing new treatments.

As a student you will be registered with a University research institute, for many this is the Institute for Cellular Medicine (ICM). You will be supported in your studies through a structured programme of supervision and training via our Faculty of Medical Sciences Graduate School.

We undertake the following areas of research and offer MPhil, PhD and MD supervision in:

Applied immunobiology (including organ and haematogenous stem cell transplantation)

Newcastle hosts one of the most comprehensive organ transplant programmes in the world. This clinical expertise has developed in parallel with the applied immunobiology and transplantation research group. We are investigating aspects of the immunology of autoimmune diseases and cancer therapy, in addition to transplant rejection. We have themes to understand the interplay of the inflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses by a variety of pathways, and how these can be manipulated for therapeutic purposes. Further research theme focusses on primary immunodeficiency diseases.

Dermatology

There is strong emphasis on the integration of clinical investigation with basic science. Our research include:

  • cell signalling in normal and diseased skin including mechanotransduction and response to ultraviolet radiation
  • dermatopharmacology including mechanisms of psoriatic plaque resolution in response to therapy
  • stem cell biology and gene therapy
  • regulation of apoptosis/autophagy
  • non-melanoma skin cancer/melanoma biology and therapy.

We also research the effects of UVR on the skin including mitochondrial DNA damage as a UV biomarker.

Diabetes

This area emphasises on translational research, linking clinical- and laboratory-based science. Key research include:

  • mechanisms of insulin action and glucose homeostasis
  • insulin secretion and pancreatic beta-cell function
  • diabetic complications
  • stem cell therapies
  • genetics and epidemiology of diabetes.

Diagnostic and therapeutic technologies

Focus is on applied research and aims to underpin future clinical applications. Technology-oriented and demand-driven research is conducted which relates directly to health priority areas such as:

  • bacterial infection
  • chronic liver failure
  • cardiovascular and degenerative diseases.

This research is sustained through extensive internal and external collaborations with leading UK and European academic and industrial groups, and has the ultimate goal of deploying next-generation diagnostic and therapeutic systems in the hospital and health-care environment.

Kidney disease

There is a number of research programmes into the genetics, immunology and physiology of kidney disease and kidney transplantation. We maintain close links between basic scientists and clinicians with many translational programmes of work, from the laboratory to first-in-man and phase III clinical trials. Specific areas:

  • haemolytic uraemic syndrome
  • renal inflammation and fibrosis
  • the immunology of transplant rejection
  • tubular disease
  • cystic kidney disease.

The liver

We have particular interests in:

  • primary biliary cirrhosis (epidemiology, immunobiology and genetics)
  • alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • fibrosis
  • the genetics of other autoimmune and viral liver diseases

Magnetic Resonance (MR), spectroscopy and imaging in clinical research

Novel non-invasive methodologies using magnetic resonance are developed and applied to clinical research. Our research falls into two categories:

  • MR physics projects involve development and testing of new MR techniques that make quantitative measurements of physiological properties using a safe, repeatable MR scan.
  • Clinical research projects involve the application of these novel biomarkers to investigation of human health and disease.

Our studies cover a broad range of topics (including diabetes, dementia, neuroscience, hepatology, cardiovascular, neuromuscular disease, metabolism, and respiratory research projects), but have a common theme of MR technical development and its application to clinical research.

Musculoskeletal disease (including auto-immune arthritis)

We focus on connective tissue diseases in three, overlapping research programmes. These programmes aim to understand:

  • what causes the destruction of joints (cell signalling, injury and repair)
  • how cells in the joints respond when tissue is lost (cellular interactions)
  • whether we can alter the immune system and ‘switch off’ auto-immune disease (targeted therapies and diagnostics)

This research theme links with other local, national and international centres of excellence and has close integration of basic and clinical researchers and hosts the only immunotherapy centre in the UK.

Pharmacogenomics (including complex disease genetics)

Genetic approaches to the individualisation of drug therapy, including anticoagulants and anti-cancer drugs, and in the genetics of diverse non-Mendelian diseases, from diabetes to periodontal disease, are a focus. A wide range of knowledge and experience in both genetics and clinical sciences is utilised, with access to high-throughput genotyping platforms.

Reproductive and vascular biology

Our scientists and clinicians use in situ cellular technologies and large-scale gene expression profiling to study the normal and pathophysiological remodelling of vascular and uteroplacental tissues. Novel approaches to cellular interactions have been developed using a unique human tissue resource. Our research themes include:

  • the regulation of trophoblast and uNk cells
  • transcriptional and post-translational features of uterine function
  • cardiac and vascular remodelling in pregnancy

We also have preclinical molecular biology projects in breast cancer research.

Respiratory disease

We conduct a broad range of research activities into acute and chronic lung diseases. As well as scientific studies into disease mechanisms, there is particular interest in translational medicine approaches to lung disease, studying human lung tissue and cells to explore potential for new treatments. Our current areas of research include:

  • acute lung injury - lung infections
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • fibrotic disease of the lung, both before and after lung transplantation.

Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics

Our research projects are concerned with the harmful effects of chemicals, including prescribed drugs, and finding ways to prevent and minimise these effects. We are attempting to measure the effects of fairly small amounts of chemicals, to provide ways of giving early warning of the start of harmful effects. We also study the adverse side-effects of medicines, including how conditions such as liver disease and heart disease can develop in people taking medicines for completely different medical conditions. Our current interests include: environmental chemicals and organophosphate pesticides, warfarin, psychiatric drugs and anti-cancer drugs.

Pharmacy

Our new School of Pharmacy has scientists and clinicians working together on all aspects of pharmaceutical sciences and clinical pharmacy.


Visit the Biomedicine - MPhil page on the Newcastle University website for more details!

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