PhD Studentship: Characterising the therapeutic potential of PEPITEM in age-related bone loss, skel

United Kingdom
Jan 10, 2018
Feb 16, 2018
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

Research interests/description of main research theme:

Applications are invited for a prestigious and distinctive three year full time Centre of Musculoskeletal Ageing Research (CMAR) PhD Studentship starting in Autumn 2018.


The PhD studentship is a collaborative project between the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing (IIA; at the University of Birmingham, UK and the Musculoskeletal Ageing Group at NDORMS in the University of Oxford (, where the student will spend 12 months training during the studentship.

The ageing musculoskeletal system is inexplicably linked with arthritis and osteoporosis, manifesting as pathological bone and cartilage destruction and aberrant bone formation with significant, often permanent, loss of function and pain. Existing therapies focus on controlling the symptoms of inflammation, such as excessive bone resorption. However, even when inflammation is well controlled, bone damage can continue, and reparative normal bone formation remains poor. We have identified PEPITEM, a novel therapeutic that positively impacts bone biology.

PEPITEM represents a potential novel agent for treatment of age-related bone damage in MSK diseases. However, it remains unclear which cells respond to PEPITEM, how this changes with age and how PEPITEM might influence bone biology in the absence of inflammation. The student will assess the effects of PEPITEM on bone damage using a combination of novel 3-D in vitro co-culture assays and in vivo models of inflammation and ageing. The aim of this PhD studentship is to reveal the direct cellular mechanisms of PEPITEM within the bone microenvironment, and identify how this impacts bone development, response to inflammation and ageing, and repair.


Person Specification

Applicants should have a strong background in cell biology and/or immunology. They should have a commitment to research in inflammation biology and rheumatology research and hold or realistically expect to obtain at least an Upper Second Class Honours Degree, or equivalent, in a relevant biological subject.


How to apply
Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Helen McGettrick (


Funding Notes

3-year funded studentship through the MRC-ARUK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research (CMAR). Students should have home or EU status: and have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the studentship to be eligible for the full award (tuition fees, research support costs, and a tax-free stipend at the Research Council rate). Applicants who have been 'ordinarily resident' in another EU member state may be eligible for a fees only award. Please see RCUK terms and conditions for further information.

This studentship is full-time and will begin on 1st of October 2018



M. Chimen*, H.M. McGettrick*, et al., (2015). Homeostatic regulation of T cell trafficking by a B cell derived peptide is impaired in autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disease. Nature Medicine 21(5):467-75. doi:10.1038/nm.3842 (* joint authorship)

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