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PhD Studentship - British Heart Foundation PhD Studentship in the Newcastle University Biosciences Institute – “Pax9 Regulation of Extracellular Matrix Production in the Pharyngeal Endoderm”

Value of award

100% of Home tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £19,920 (full award). Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the Home fees and international fees.

Number of awards


Start date and duration

26 April 2021 for 3 years.

Application closing date

15 February 2021.


Interested in cardiovascular development? This PhD project will investigate the mechanisms by which a gene called Pax9 controls the production of the extracellular matrix and how this may in turn affect the development of the aortic arch arteries of the cardiovascular system.

We have recently shown that Pax9 is a critical gene required for the development of the aortic arch arteries, and Pax9 deficient embryos develop complex abnormalities of these major blood vessels. Using next generation sequencing technology we have identified that loss of Pax9 affects the expression of genes coding for extracellular matrix proteins. This project will explore the phenotype of the pharyngeal endoderm cells in Pax9 deficient embryos using transmission electron microscopy, and the effect on extracellular matrix molecules using immunohistochemistry, protein and gene expression techniques (i.e. Western blotting, quantitative real-time RT-PCR). Cell culture will also be used to analyse protein-DNA interactions.


British Heart Foundation

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr Simon Bamforth and Dr Helen Phillips, Newcastle University Biosciences Institute.

Eligibility Criteria

You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree in biology, genetics, biomedicine, or a related area. A further qualification such as an MSc or MRes is advantageous.

This award is available to Home and international applicants.

To study this course you need to meet the following English Language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all other sub-skills).

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’.

Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:
• insert the programme code 8300F* in the programme of study section
• select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences – Biosciences’ as the programme of study
• insert the studentship code BI033 in the studentship/partnership reference field
• attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code BI033 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
• attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.

* The online application system will only allow one application using the programme code 8300F. If you are applying for TWO or more projects using that code then you will need to email our Postgraduate Admissions Service ( with the following information:


For further details please email Dr Simon Bamforth.

Eligible Courses