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Leeds Liverpool Newcastle Sheffield

MRC DiMeN Doctoral Training Partnership

Discovery Medicine North

Current Opportunities

New Opportunities for October 2017 

The DiMeN partnership has new studentship opportunities available focusing on the complementary themes of:

  • Genetic Influences on Health (GIH)
  • Ageing and Disease (AD)
  • Bioinformatics and Personalised Medicine (BPM)

Successful applicants will be able to select from a choice of research projects focused in MRC Priority areas of:

  • Digital Technologies and Informatics for Health

The scale and complexity of biomedical and health data is increasing through a variety of sources, including large population and cohort studies, high-throughput ‘omics’ platforms, imaging, and mobile, patient centred technologies. Bringing these and other data together for analysis and interpretation offers unprecedented opportunities to advance understanding of the causes, prevention and treatment of disease.

  • Advanced Therapeutics

The UK has a world-leading science base in regenerative medicine and gene therapy, built on strong fundamental research and training, clinical-research pull-through, and a well-developed legislative framework. Substantial progress has been made in the field in recent years in better understanding the underlying biology which in turn has led to more researchers moving into translational regenerative medicine. Related advances in biomaterial technology, nanobiology, gene engineering and manufacturing have also contributed to renewed optimism that real advances may be made in the clinical arena in the not too distant future. 

  • Accelerating Medicines Discovery and Translation

The pharmaceutical pipeline starts with discovery research aligned with industry objectives – to progress a drug to market requires expertise in multiple disciplines including chemical biology, informatics, pharmacology, and toxicology, as well as the development of appropriate models and experimental medicine.

  • Precision Medicine and Diagnostics

Stratified medicine identifies groups of people with specific disease ‘subtypes’ so that clinicians can accurately diagnose their conditions and determine treatments which are most likely to be effective – this approach underpins the practice of precision medicine. Developing diagnostics and sensors that enable anticipation, prevention and management of disease and disorder in the healthy, elderly and chronically ill, offers new opportunities for treatment, early intervention, prevention and enable independent living. Informatics is essential to explore, integrate, and exploit the complex data from molecular analyses, sensors, point of care diagnostics, and mobile devices used by professionals and the public for research and evaluation.

Example Projects - Accelerating Medicines Discovery and Translation

- A Virtual Screen to Identify Inhibitors of all Four Serotypes of Dengue Polymerase. Dr Jonathan Harburn (Newcastle University), Dr Darren Smith (Northumbria University). DiMeN Research Theme: AD.

- BTK mutations and drug resistance structure-activity relationships. Professor David MacEwan (University of Liverpool), Dr Joseph Slupsky (University of Liverpool), Professor Ian Prior (University of Liverpool). DiMeN Research Theme: GIH.

Example Projects - Digital Technologies and Informatics for Health

- Distributed privacy-protected analysis of high volume ‘omics data, including genome wide association studies (GWAS), using DataSHIELD. Professor  Paul Burton (Newcastle University), Dr Becca Wilson (Newcastle University), Professor  Anil Wipat (Newcastle University), Professor Madeleine Murtagh (Newcastle University). DiMeN Research Theme: GIH, AD, BPM. 

- Privacy-protection of record-linkage and the analysis of record-linked (vertically partitioned) data using DataSHIELD. Professor Paul Burton (Newcastle University), Dr Becca Wilson (Newcastle University), Dr Olly Butters (Newcastle University), Dr Nick Booth (Newcastle University). DiMeN Research Theme: GIH, AD, BPM.

- Harnessing digital technology to measure food intake using photographs. Professor Janet Cade (University of Leeds), Dr Michelle Morris (University of Leeds), Professor David Hogg (University of Leeds). DiMeN Research Theme: BPM.

- Use of big data analytics and experimental cohort design to evaluation a global digital technology intervention to promote health behaviour. Dr Michelle Morris (University of Leeds), Dr Maria Bryant (University of Leeds), Professor Mark Birkin (University of Leeds). DiMeN Research Theme: BPM.

Example Projects - Digital Technologies and Informatics for Health & Accelerating Medicines Discovery and Translation

- Lung function and damage over the life course and the effects of chemical agents. Professor Julian Alexander Hiscox (University of Liverpool), Dr Graeme Clark (DSTL). DiMeN Research Theme: AD, BPM.

- Computational approaches to understanding mechanosensitive Piezo1 channel. Dr Antreas Kalli (University of Leeds), Professor David Beech (University of Leeds), Dr Jian Shi (University of Leeds). DiMeN Research Theme: GIH, BPM. 

- Development of in vitro cell-based systems to investigate immunogenicity during drug development. Dr Dean Naisbitt (University of Liverpool), Professor Kevin Park (University of Liverpool). DiMeN Research Theme: GIH, BPM.

Example Projects - Digital Technologies and Informatics for Health, Accelerating Medicines Discovery and Translation & Precision Medicine and Diagnostics

- Defining cell-matrix interactions in controlling immune cell function in cancer. Dr Laura Matthews (University of Leeds), Dr Freek Van Eeden (University of Sheffield), Professor Graham Cook (University of Leeds). DiMeN Research Theme: AD, BPM.

- Developing clinical imaging applications for novel digital radiography technology. Professor Phil White (Newcastle University), Dr Paul Scott (IBEX Innovations),Dr Kevin Robson (Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust). DiMeN Research Theme: GIH, AD, BPM. 

Example Projects - Digital Technologies and Informatics for Health & Precision Medicine and Diagnostics

- Computational prediction of bacterial vaccine targets. Professor Anil Wipat (Newcastle University), Dr Keith Flanagan (Newcastle University). DiMeN Research Theme: BPM. 

- A systems pharmacology approach to understanding statin response variation using advanced computational methods. Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed (University of Liverpool), Dr Richard Turner (University of Liverpool), Professor Andrew Morris (University of Liverpool). DiMeN Research Theme: BPM.

- Predicting prognosis and response to therapy in bowel cancer. Professor Philip Quirke (University of Leeds), Dr Darren Treanor (University of Leeds), Dr Susan Richman (University of Leeds), Professor Matt Seymour (University of Leeds). DiMeN Research Theme: BPM.

- The genetic basis of comorbidities and adverse reactions to glucocorticoids in patients with musculoskeletal disease and vasculitis. Professor Jenny Barrett (University of Leeds), Dr Mar Pujades Rodriguez (University of Leeds), Professor Ann Morgan (University of Leeds). DiMeN Research Theme: GIH, BPM.  

Example Projects - Precision Medicine and Diagnostics

- Bone Turnover Markers: Use in Monitoring Treatment of Osteoporosis. Professor Richard Eastell (University of Sheffield), Dr Jennie Walsh (University of Sheffield). DiMeN Research Theme: AD.

- Cancer kinomics: Kinome-wide analysis of drug-resistance mechanisms in human cancers. Dr Patrick Eyers (University of Liverpool), Professor Claire Eyers (University of Liverpool), Professor John Ladbury (University of Leeds). DiMeN Research Theme: BPM. 

- Mechanisms and prevention of genetic changes in human pluripotent stem cells. Dr Ivana Barbaric (University of Sheffield), Professor Peter Andrews (University of Sheffield). DiMeN Research Theme: BPM.

The DiMeN DTP delivers a unique, flexible, student-centred programme of training.

As a DiMeN PhD student, you will benefit from:

  • A choice of collaborative research projects with a non-academic partner.
  • The support of at least two supervisors, ensuring excellent supervision and a cross-disciplinary approach to your research project.
  • Opportunity to spend time working in a non-academic partners research organisation.
  • Cohort gateway skills training sessions in bioinformatics and computational biology, imaging and in vivo experimental techniques.
  • In depth specialist training in a range of areas relevant to your project.
  • Access to training and development opportunities across the DiMeN partnership including bespoke doctoral level courses, Masters modules and the use of world class research facilities.
  • Core training events throughout the programme, bringing you together with fellow students to develop your skills in every aspect of being a successful researcher and to prepare you for your future career.

To apply please carefully read the instructions on the 'application overview' page and use the link on the page to submit an application.