PhD Studentship

Division of Medicine

UCL, Gower Street, London, UK


  • Posted on: 19th Nov 2021
  • Funding amount: Funding Available
  • Funding for: EU Students, International Students, UK Students
  • REF: 1880898
  • Closes: 06th February 2022
  • Hours: Full Time

Vacancy Information

This studentship is part of an exciting new research collaboration between the Centre for Inflammation & Tissue Repair at UCL and Chiesi Farmaceutici, an international, research-based, pharmaceutical company. The studentship is fully funded for 3 years and includes a PhD student stipend (commencing at 17, 600) full, university tuition fees (for UK students), a generous consumable budget and travel funding to attend conferences.

The studentship is primarily based within the recently refurbished excellent UCL Respiratory laboratories at UCL (Bloomsbury Campus) but there may be opportunities for the student to spend some time within the excellent drug discovery facilities available at Chiesi (Parma, Italy). The project will aim to delineate the critical signalling networks underlying the development of fibrosis with a strong focus on human cell-based model systems and the contribution of the pathological extracellular matrix as a driver of fibrogenesis.

The PhD supervisory team will comprise Professor Rachel Chambers and Dr Manuela Plat at UCL an industry supervisor from Chiesi and a UCL-approved thesis committee.

Studentship Description

The abnormal deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) is a defining feature which leads to organ failure and premature death in a number of acute and chronic conditions, including pulmonary fibrosis. Our understanding of the pathomechanisms underlying the development of tissue fibrosis remains incomplete but the dysregulated crosstalk between damaged alveolar epithelial cells and fibroblasts in the presence of a pathological ECM is widely felt to play a central role.

The studentship will focus on defining the influence of the pathological ECM on key signalling networks underlying abnormal tissue repair and fibrogenic responses. The project will be laboratory-based with a strong focus on disease-derived primary human fibroblasts and cells, complex 3-D lung organoids and patient tissue samples. The project will provide the candidate with an opportunity to acquire skills in a host of contemporary laboratory techniques (including next generation sequencing and CRISPR-Cas 9 gene editing).

The candidate will benefit from the extensive expertise and internationally competitive track-record in this area of investigation and will further further benefit from working on a project which sits at the interface between academia and industry and will gain invaluable expertise in drug target identification and validation from Chiesi.

Person Specification

Candidates must meet the UCL graduate entry requirements which include holding, or expecting to receive, a minimum upper-second class Bachelors degree or equivalent in a relevant life sciences subject (e.g. biology, biochemistry, pharmacology or biomedicine).

A Masters degree in a relevant discipline and additional lab-based research experience would be a distinct advantage. Applicants whose first language is not English are required to provide evidence of proficiency in English by UCL. The successful candidate is expected to be enrolled around 4th October 2021 and will join the UCL Doctoral School.


The full studentship (tuition fees and stipend) is eligible to all UK nationals and EU nationals if they have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the PhD start date.

Applications should be sent directly to Ms Catriona Heredia by email with subject-line ECM PhD application and include a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a cover letter. The cover letter must answer why you wish to undertake this research at UCL; what attracted you to this project; your previous research experience or professional training; and anything else you feel will be of value to your application.

In addition, two references should be stated at the end of the cover letter. One of these references must be an academic referee who is able to comment on your academic work and suitability for postgraduate study in this area of investigation. Where appropriate, the second referee can comment on your professional experience.

Contact name: Catriona Heredia

Contact details:

Closing Date: 6th December 2021 at 23:59

Interview date: TBC

For more information regarding the project and research group, please contact Dr Prof Dr Manuela Plat ( or Dr Greg Contento ( and visit the following websites:

UCL Graduate Prospectus:

UCL Campus Information:

Contact name

Catriona Heredia

Contact details

UCL Taking Action for Equality

Closing Date

6 Feb 2022

Latest time for the submission of applications


Interview date


Studentship Start Date


Employer Achievements:

company award