PhD/MPhil Musculoskeletal / Programme details
Year of entry: 2021
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Our PhD/MPhil Musculoskeletal programme enables you to undertake a research project that will improve understanding of Musculoskeletal.
Research in the Centre for Musculoskeletal Research (CfMR) is undertaken by established groups and independent researchers investigating genetic and epidemiological aspects of musculoskeletal conditions.
- rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- osteoarthritis (OA)
- psoriatic arthritis (PsA)
- juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)
- systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- myositis and scleroderma (Sc).
We have a strong track record of training students, and all of our senior staff have a hands-on approach to supervision.
We have a comprehensive programme of training and mentorship directed at all levels of career development. For postgraduate research students, we provide in-house training in generic lab skills, biostatistics and epidemiology.
Postgraduate research students are encouraged to take part in patient/public engagement and involvement activities (PPE/I) to discuss their research with members of the general public and patients.
Examples of research in genetics and genomics include the following.
- Identification and characterisation of genetic variants that influence susceptibility to rheumatological conditions including RA, JIA and PsA.
- Identification and characterisation of genetic and epigenetic variants that influence treatment response to methotrexate and/or biological therapy in rheumatological conditions including RA, JIA and PsA.
- Identification and characterisation of genetic/genomic variants that influence severity of rheumatological conditions. Investigating the function of genetic variants to refine the associated regions, and highlight likely causal variants, in loci with large, genetically intractable associations.
- Identifying key pathways involved in inflammation to identify novel targets to develop new drugs.
- Using stratified medicine and systems biology approaches to develop predictive and pharmacodynamics markers of treatment response.
- Characterising regulatory elements and causal mechanisms by which genetic variation contributes to phenotype.
- Applying gene expression profiling to predict treatment response in patients with RA.
Examples of research programmes in epidemiology include the following.
- Undertaking longitudinal observational studies, case control studies and intervention studies.
- Investigating the co-morbidities associated with inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders and their impact on quality of life and mortality.
- Investigating environmental and genetic risk factor for developing RA, JIA and PsA.
- Hosting national databases and monitoring drug safety (i.e. pharmacoepidemiology) in RA, JIA and SLE.
- Using of big data (eg CPRD) to address relevant epidemiological questions.
- Intervention studies of devices and the development of new models of outcome in osteoarthritis.
- Investigating and predicting long-term outcomes in patients with JIA and RA including pain, quality of life, and worker-productivity loss.
- Investigating the pathophysiology, epidemiology, measurement and treatment of systemic sclerosis and primary Raynaud's phenomenon.
- Using e-health data to investigate changes in disease activity over time.
- Investigating adherence to treatment in patients with RA.
All of our postgraduate research students attend the Doctoral Academy Training Programme delivered by the Centre for Academic and Researcher Development (CARD).
The programme provides key transferable skills in areas such as commercial awareness, academic writing and public engagement. This training equips our postgraduates with the tools to progress beyond their research degree into influential positions within academia, industry and consultancy.
The emphasis is on enhancing skills critical to developing early-stage researchers and professionals, whether they relate to effective communication, disseminating research findings and project management skills.
See the training and development page for more information.
Teaching and learning
Applicants are specifically matched with a Primary Supervisor and individual project based on their research interests and background.
International applicants interested in this research area can also consider the our PhD programme with integrated teaching certificate .
This unique programme will enable you to gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning, whilst also carrying out independent research on your chosen project.
Scholarships and bursaries
Funded programmes and projects are promoted throughout the year. Funding is available through UK Research Councils, charities and industry. We also have other internal awards and scholarships for the most outstanding applicants from within the UK and overseas (including EU nationals).