MRC IMPACT - Complex disease: mechanisms to therapy

13th December 2017

The Integrative Midlands Partnership for Biomedical Training (IMPACT) is a MRC-funded doctoral training partnership between the universities of Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham, and the Research Complex at Harwell.

There are 14 studentships available across the three universities. The projects available for applications at The University of Nottingham are listed below under the theme Complex Disease: mechanisms to therapy.

The application deadline is Wednesday, 28 February 2018, 11.00 pm. By this date applicants should have checked eligibility, applied on-line via the website at and completed the IMPACT pro forma. A CV (no more than 2 sides of A4), a transcript of module marks and two references should also be provided. References should be provided using the referee form, available on the MRC IMPACT DTP website. Please note it is the applicant’s responsibility to request his/her own references.

Stipend: RCUK standard rate (plus additional travel allowance and a laptop).

Further information, including eligibility and application details, are available at

Integrins in liver fibrosis

PI: Guruprasad Aithal


In the liver, several av-containing integrin heterodimers have been described: aVb1, aVb3, aVb5, aVb6 and aVb8. Integrins are involved in the activation of TGFb and mechanosensing of tissue stiffness. We will 1) determine the pattern and level of expression of av and b1,3,5,6 and 8 integrins at the protein level in human liver samples from patients with varying degrees of fibrosis and use co-localization with activated hepatic stellate cell markers to indicate potential involvement with disease, 2) establish a primary human stellate culture system on hydrogels of varying stiffness to model fibrosis in vitro and determine expression of av-containing integrin heterodimers at varying stages of stellate cell activation, 3) assess efficacy of a panel of soluble integrin inhibitors upon stellate cell activation examining TGFb activation and stiffness induced signal transduction and 4) determine whether soluble integrin inhibitors can reverse stellate cell activation to a quiescent state once fibrogenic processes are established.

Supervisors: Professor Guruprasad P Aithal, Dr Andrew Bennett, Professor Simon Macdonald and Dr Jane Grove

For information on the other projects available please click HERE