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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

PhD Studentship: Does maternal vitamin D regulate placental amino acid transport and subsequent fetal growth? [CLOSED]

Published: 25 January 2011

Supervisors: Dr Jane Cleal (Lecturer, School of Medicine), Dr Karen Lillycrop (Senior Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences) and Dr Nicholas Harvey (Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist).

Applications are invited to apply for a Gerald Kerkut Trust funded 3 year PhD studentship starting in October 2011.

The student will be based in the Institute of Developmental Sciences within the DOHaD Division of the School of Medicine (

Fetal growth restriction is associated with increased risk of chronic adulthood diseases, including cardiovascular and metabolic disease. Our work indicates that placental transport of amino acids is vital for appropriate fetal growth (Cleal et al., 2011). We now need to establish how placental amino acid transport is regulated. A prime candidate is maternal vitamin D levels, which have been associated with reduced fetal growth and the subsequent poor postnatal health. This study will involve human placental trophoblast cell culture, epigenetic analysis and molecular studies on placental tissues from well-characterised pregnancies.

During the course of the studentship, the successful applicant will be trained in a diverse range of physiological and molecular biology techniques, as well as participate in the faculty’s postgraduate training programme:

The studentship is funded by the Gerald Kerkut Charitable Trust and covers tuition fees for UK/EU students and a maintenance grant paid at current BBSRC rates. Applicants should have, or be expected to obtain, a First or Upper Second class Honours degree in Biomedical Sciences or a related Biological Science.

For more information contact Dr. Jane Cleal (

To apply, please send an up to date CV (including contact details for 2 referees) and a covering letter to Dr Jane Cleal, Institute of Developmental Sciences, Mail Point 887, Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Road, Southampton, SO16 6YD.

The closing date for this position is midday on the 18.03.11, with interviews to be held in early April.

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