Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

Integrity of autophagy pathway in skin diseases

Originally characterised as a hormonal and starvation response, it is now well established that autophagy has a much broader role in biology, including organelle remodeling, protein quality control, prevention of genotoxic stress, tumor suppression, pathogen elimination, regulation of immunity and inflammation, regulation of metabolism, and cellular survival. In the epidermis, autophagy is constitutively active in the granular layer, participating in the keratinocytes' terminal differentiation process, contributing to the integrity of barrier formation. While the role of epidermal autophagy in skin aging is still not completely understood, preliminary evidence reports deregulation of the autophagy canonical signalling in different skin diseases, including skin cancers (Melanoma and cutaneous SCC) and chronic inflammatory skin conditions (psoriasis, eczema, hidradenitis suppurativa).

Aims

  1. To characterise location and expression of autophagy markers in 3D organotypic model of human skin disease models
  2. To establish a 3D model of “inflamed epidermis”
  3. To assess the effect of autophagy induction and/or inhibition in skin disease models
  4. To identify/test compounds able to regulate the autophagy process and which could affect specific epidermal functions

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a first- or upper second-class honours degree in a relevant subject area. If qualifications are not from a UK university, recognised equivalent qualifications from accredited overseas institutions and equivalent professional qualification will be considered.

A masters qualification is desirable but not always essential.

Relevant experience within the field (molecular biology, dermatology, inflammation) will also be taken into account.

International and European qualifications: please see the Queen Mary International pages for information on recognised equivalent qualifications specific to your country. Alternatively, for advice on qualification equivalency, please contact research-admissions@qmul.ac.uk.

Please contact Dr Daniele Bergamaschi (d.bergamaschi@qmul.ac.uk) to apply.