Postgraduate research opportunities

Extracellular Vesicles and Metabolic Disease

Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease Cell Biology

Number of places



4 March 2020


31 July 2020


36 Months


B.Sc. in a Biological Science at Upper Second Class or above

Project Details

Extracellular Vesicles [ECVs] are increasingly being viewed as key players in cell-cell or even tissue-tissue communication. ECVs are lipid bilayer surrounded particles which are released by many cells, including adipocytes, liver and nerve cells. ECVs contain proteins, lipids and miRNA/mRNA which act as signals to other cells and often are transported through the blood to other tissues. ECVs can also cross biological barriers, raising interest in these structures as gene/medicine delivery vectors. However, we know little about how ECVs are released, or how their contents and function are controlled.


There is a growing body of evidence that ECVs play a key role in metabolic disease. For example, ECVs mediate adipose/liver cross talk, and also function in communication between adipocytes and inflammatory cells. The role of ECVs in neuronal cell signalling remains ill-defined.


This project will use model neuronal and adipocyte cell lines and liver spheroids as sources of ECVs and test the hypothesis that the composition of these ECVs and their downstream effects vary depending on factors such as hypoxia, glucopenia/neuroglucopenia or insulin resistance.


We will also address the mechanism of ECV release using genome-editing approaches to control exocytosis in adipocytes as a model system.


Techniques used:

Cell Culture

Centrifugation/nanocyte analysis of ECVs

Protein analysis


Genome Editing/siRNA approaches

Funding Details

Applicant will need to self-fund, find sponsorship for tuition and bench fees of £12,000 per annum for duration of studies


Primary Supervisor: Gwyn W. Gould



Secondary Supervisor: Margaret Cunningham


Contact us

Primary Supervisor: Gwyn W. Gould