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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

PhD opportunities

BSMS > Postgraduate > Research degrees > PhD opportunities

PhD opportunities

All our current PhD opportunites are listed on this page. 

In order to apply, please visit the University of Brighton website by clicking the “Apply Now” link below, and select “Doctoral College” as the School, and “Medicine” as the keyword. You should then select the project that you wish to apply for. There is no need to supply your own research proposal, unless you are submitting a speculative application. 

Apply for your PHD here >

If you are applying for a specific project that is advertised below, there is no need to write a research proposal. Simply give the details provided in the advertisement in the Research Proposal section of the online application form.

If you require entry clearance to study in the UK, please see the ATAS information.

BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR PANEL

Barriers and facilitators to the development of precision medicine in asthma-related disease in children and young people 

Supervisors

Prof Somnath Mukhopadhyay, Dr Elaney Youssef Application

Deadline

Tuesday 13 July 2021 

About the Project

Applications are invited for a 3-year PhD studentship to join the Clinical and Experimental Medicine department at Brighton and Sussex Medical School.

Asthma and eczema are common in childhood. In the UK, asthma affects one in 11 children and eczema affects one in five (1). Despite high standards of healthcare driven by NICE guidance, many children still suffer from poorly controlled asthma (2-4) which results in reduced quality of life and increased demands on healthcare services(5). There is evidence to suggest significant overlap between these conditions (6) arising from particular phenotypes (7, 8). As a result, the development of personalised treatment strategies may be effective in managing these conditions.

The project aims to identify the barriers and facilitators to the development of precision medicine for managing asthma, eczema, allergy and upper airway disease for children and young people. More specifically, the student will develop an understanding of the clinical science, including biology, by reviewing the relevant literature and performing focussed reviews to address gaps in knowledge; and will develop an understanding of the barriers and facilitators to the process of introducing precision medicine-linked treatment strategies to this area of medical practice.

This project offers a range of training opportunities and the student will acquire essential skills from a variety of areas including clinical science, health services research, systematic reviews and qualitative methods. This should provide the successful candidate with critical skills and substantial experience to make them a highly competitive candidate for a postdoctoral research position.
Funding NotesApplicants for this 3-year studentship starting in October 2021 should possess a minimum of a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) in Nursing, Pharmacy, Medicine, Health Sciences, Psychology or similar. Informal enquiries should be direct to Prof Somnath Mukhopadhyay (somnath.mukhopadhyay@nhs.net). In order to apply please visit the University of Brighton website. Please contact the BSMS Doctoral and Research Officer (researchdegrees@bsms.ac.uk) with any queries. 

References 

1. Asthma UK. Asthma facts and statistics 2021 [Available from: www.asthma.org.uk/about/media/facts-and-statistics.]

2. Lo DK, Beardsmore CS, Roland D, Richardson M, Yang Y, Danvers L, et al. Lung function and asthma control in school-age children managed in UK primary care: a cohort study. Thorax. 2020;75(2):101-7.

3. Harris K, Mosler G, Williams S, Whitehouse A, Raine R, Grigg J. Asthma control in London secondary school children. J Asthma. 2017;54(10):1033-40.

4. Levy M. Risks of poor asthma outcome in 14,405 children and young people in London. NPJ Prim Care Respir Med. 2021;31(1):3.

5. Nunes C, Pereira A, Morais-Almeida M. Asthma costs and social impact. Asthma Res Pract. 2017;3:1.

6. Palmer C, Irvine A, Terron-Kwiatkowski A, Zhao Y, Liao H, Lee S, et al. Common loss-of-function variants of the epidermal barrier protein filaggrin are a major predisposing factor for atopic dermatitis. Nat Genet. 2006;38(4):441-6.

7. Kuruvilla M, Lee F, Lee G. Understanding Asthma Phenotypes, Endotypes, and Mechanisms of Disease. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2019;56(2):219-33.

8. Holgate S, Walker S, West B, Boycott K. The Future of Asthma Care: Personalized Asthma Treatment. Clin Chest Med. 2019;40(1):227-41.

Stigma towards dementia in young people: The impact of media

Supervisors: Dr Nicolas Farina, Dr N Tabet, Dr Alys Griffiths 

Applications accepted all year round 

Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Applications are invited for a 3-year PhD studentship to join the internationally recognised Centre for Dementia Studies, Brighton and Sussex Medical School at the University of Sussex Campus. 

The aim of the project is to better understand what dementia-related media young people engage with but also interrogate the relationship between various national and international media messages about dementia (social media, ad campaigns, movies) and how they affect attitudes towards dementia. 

Combatting stigma and raising awareness towards dementia is an international policy priority. As it stands, we know that negative attitudes towards dementia already exist from a young age, and that based on existing theories, attitude change might be easier during these younger years. Young people already have experiences of dementia, despite receiving little formal education about the condition. Whilst there is a significant minority that have provided support for a family member with dementia, many have experienced dementia only through the media (i.e. movies, news) and online sources. Previous research has identified that media messages of dementia can often be negative or stigmatizing, which could be in part responsible for attitude formation. However, it is unclear how young people engage with such media content about dementia and how this ultimately shapes stigma towards dementia. Such stigma ultimately influences how individuals engage with dementia, both now and in the future, and might ultimately determine career preferences. The research builds upon an existing theme of work led by Dr’s Farina, Tabet and Griffiths. 

The project provides a wide range of training that includes quantitative, qualitative and review methodology. The project, will also provide an opportunity to work with both young people and people living with dementia. This should provide the successful candidate with critical skills and substantial experience to make them a highly competitive candidate for a postdoctoral research position within applied health research, particularly in the field of dementia.

Funding Notes

Applicants for this 3-year PhD should possess or expect to be awarded a minimum of a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) in psychology, health sciences, public health, or related subject. Both UK/EU and non-EU citizens can apply. Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Nicolas Farina (n.farina@bsms.ac.uk). Please contact the Brighton and Sussex Medical School Doctoral and Research Officer (researchdegrees@bsms.ac.uk), with any other queries.

References

  1. Alzheimer’s Disease International. World Alzheimer Report 2019 : Attitudes to dementia. Read the report here. Published April 10, 2019. Accessed June 17, 2019. 
  2. Cheng TY-M, Liu L, Woo BK. Analyzing Twitter as a Platform for Alzheimer-Related Dementia Awareness: Thematic Analyses of Tweets. JMIR Aging. 2018;1(2):e11542. doi:10.2196/11542 
  3. Farina N, Hughes LJ, Griffiths AW, Parveen S. Adolescents’ experiences and perceptions of dementia. Aging Ment Health. 2019;0(0):1-7. doi:10.1080/13607863.2019.1613343 
  4. Farina N. What is taught about dementia in secondary schools? A survey of schools in Sussex, England (Innovative Practice). Dementia. July 2017:1471301217720016. doi:10.1177/1471301217720016 
  5. Isaac MG, Isaac MM, Farina N, Tabet N. Knowledge and attitudes towards dementia in adolescent students. J Ment Health. 2017;26(5):419–425. 
  6. Parveen S, Farina N, Shafiq S, Hughes LJ, Griffiths AW. What do adolescents perceive to be key features of an effective dementia education and awareness initiative? Dement Int J Soc Res Pract. 2019.

Wellcome clinical PhD programme in Global Health Research

Open for applications from 18 September 2020 

The Wellcome Clinical PhD Programme in Global Health Research is a partnership between the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University College London, King’s College London, Queen Mary University of London, St George’s University of London and Brighton and Sussex Medical School bringing together their expertise in global health research. The Programme provides postgraduate training opportunities to clinicians committed to undertaking research on the health problems of low and middle income countries.

The Programme will support up to four clinical PhD fellowships in 2021.

The aim of the Programme is to support the most promising clinicians who wish to undertake rigorous research training and complete a research project in the field of global health.

The Programme will focus on the following six key areas:

  • HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria
  • Neglected tropical diseases
  • Maternal and child health
  • Mental health
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Non-communicable diseases.

The Programme has a large pool of potential-supervisors who have a breadth of clinical specialities and experience in these areas.

Successful applicants will develop their potential to become academic clinicians within a structured and mentored training environment. They will, usually, spend up to two years overseas in a low or middle income country based in well-established research groups.

Financial support is for three years and includes a clinical salary, research expenses, general training funds and travel costs.

Applicants must be fully-qualified medical doctors (with no more than 10 years’ whole time equivalent [WTE] career experience after full medical qualification at the time of applying), have a right to work in the UK, be eligible for home/EU PhD fees and should be currently engaged in a specialist training programme and not yet awarded a CCT or equivalent. They must demonstrate academic excellence and a commitment to pursuing a career as an academic clinician with an interest in global health.

Find out more about the programme and how to apply >

PhD studentships now recruited

  • Substance use in relation to the mental and sexual heath of vulnerable adolescents and young adults under 25 in coastal areas of Kent and Sussex 
  • The mental health and wellbeing needs of looked after and displaced children in southeast England 
  • Helping young people to live successfully with long-term health issues
  • Resourcing Resilience: Positive psychology among adolescents living with HIV 
  • Widening access to psychological interventions for diverse communities: exploring the potential of community-led interventions 
  • Co-producing stigma-proof mental health interventions with and for newcomers (asylum seekers, refugees and migrants) in southeast England 
  • Defining Mycobacterium tuberculosis in lung tissue – a novel discovery platform for new vaccine and drug targets
  • Epidemiology of cancer in the elderly (aged > 65 years) in England
  • The roles of oxidative stress and redox regulation in chronic inflammatory disease (Supervisors: Dr Lisa Mullen, Prof Pietro Ghezzi, Prof Kevin Davies)
  • Pillars of Expertise: Visual Perception & Memory (Supervisors: Dr Natasha Sigala, Prof Mara Cercignani
  • Investigating the genetic basis of osteosarcoma in children & dogs (Supervisors: Prof Sarah Newbury, Dr Peter Bush, Dr Chris Jones)
  • The embodiment of unconscious knowledge in maladaptive behaviour (Supervisors: Prof Hugo Critchley, Dr Sarah Garfinkel, Prof Dora Duka)
  • Can simulation clarify diagnostic skills for newly qualified doctors? (Supervisors: Dr Inam Haq, Dr Wesley Scott-Smith)
  • Impact of oxytocin on emotional regulation in binge drinking and alcoholism: behavioural, physiological and fMRI investigations (Supervisors: Prof Hugo Critchley, Prof Dora Duka)
  • Developing an algorithm for predicting children with severe asthma (Supervisors: Prof Somnath Mukhopadhyay, Dr Katy Fidler)
  • Development of a refined model of neuropathic pain: a model without frank nerve injury (Supervisors: Dr Andrew Dilley, Prof Pietro Ghezzi)
  • Role of secreted oxidoreductases in osteoarthritis, rheumathoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (Supervisors: Prof Pietro Ghezzi, Dr Manuela Mengozzi)
  • Measuring quality of life in severe dementia: validation of DEMQOL-Proxy in family and professional carers of people with severe dementia (Prof Sube Banerjee, Dr Naji Tabet)
  • Stigma in health care: Does it influence the way general practitioners record consultations? (Supervisors: Dr Elizabeth Ford, Prof Helen Smith, Prof Flis Henwood)
  • Interoception and preventative intervention for anxiety in adults with autism (supervisors: Dr Sarah Garfinkel, Prof Hugo Critchley)