Novel biomarkers for arthritis
There is substantial evidence that post-translational modifications of proteins, particularly in joint tissues, are directly linked to disease processes.
This PhD project will investigate qualitative protein changes that are unique to degenerative joint pathologies, with the focus on gaining a molecular understanding of the role of such protein modifications in disease development and progression.
The overall aim will be to establish sensitive and robust next generation assays for detecting novel epitopes generated as a consequence of aberrant mechanical loading, inflammation and tissue repair responses in osteoarthritis, and then to evaluate the potential of these assays in arthritis patients assessment.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a painful, chronic, progressive joint disorder that affects over 40% of people aged 65, currently around 8 million people in the UK alone, yet there are no effective diagnostic tools beyond imaging which only detects late stage disease. Diagnostic assays based on biomarkers of disease are an important tool in patient diagnosis and stratification for treatment as well as evaluation of disease progression and treatment efficacy. Very few indicators for arthritis are currently available to inform the clinician, and hence there is an urgent need for progress in this area.
The PhD student will join an international team of researchers in a Centre of Excellence for Arthritis Research and have access to cutting edge arthritis models including in vitro ‘joints’ created by tissue engineering using stem cells. The project will utilise state-of–the art technology in cell and molecular biology and will offer opportunities for research translation.
More information on the Matrix Biology & Tissue Repair Research Unit.