Characterising novel regulation processes for a structurally important skeletal gene


Cartilage is a specialised tissue, which performs essential roles in the functioning skeletal. The integrity of the cartilage extracellular matrix is of critical importance to this role and improperly formed or degraded tissue can affect the development of the embryonic skeleton and the development of diseases such as osteoarthritis in later life. An important molecular component of this extracellular matrix is a specialised glycoprotein called aggrecan that belongs to the family of proteoglycans. Many aspects of the production and destruction of aggrecan have been studied and this understanding has been key to determining the molecular processes that contribute to keeping cartilage healthy. One area where aggrecan has been less well studied is in the regulation of its messenger RNA in the cartilage cells following transcription, although there is evidence that shows this form of regulation is very important.

This project will use molecular and cellular approaches to study how aggrecan messenger RNA is regulated following transcription, utilising both cellular models and mouse genetic systems. The aims of the project will be to determine what the consequences of this regulation are in terms of the abundance of aggrecan mRNA and protein, as well as to identify the molecular mechanisms that control the process.

The project would be suitable for a motivated student who wishes to develop skills in molecular biology, cell culture and in vivo genetic models. This is an excellent opportunity to lead the identification of a novel biological mechanism, which has a direct link to processes that affect skeletal integrity in age-related diseases.

You will be supervised by a team based in Department of Musculoskeletal and Ageing Sciences in the Institute of Life Course and Medical Sciences at the University of Liverpool. The supervisors have wide-ranging expertise will provide training and support in all relevant laboratory and analysis techniques. Furthermore, all postgraduate students undertake a programme of post graduate researcher development, which aims to enhance their skills for a successful research experience and career.

The Institute of Life Course and Medical Science is fully committed to promoting gender equality in all activities. It aims to foster a supportive working environment and holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of its on-going commitment to this.

For any enquiries or to apply please contact Dr Simon Tew on: 


Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Self-funded project

The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses as well as research costs of around £14,000 per year. There is NO funding attached to this project. Details of costs can be found on the University website.