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ALLSTAT  February 2017

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Subject:

PhD project in statistical genetics - King's College London

From:

Cathryn Lewis <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Cathryn Lewis <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:49:17 +0000

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PhD project using statistical genetics to predict response to hypertension drugs is available through our BRC training programme in Translational Medicine at King’s College London
 
Programme link:  https://www.findaphd.com/search/PhDDetails.aspx?CAID=2705&LID=132
Project link:  http://www.guysandstthomasbrc.nihr.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/28-Towards-personalised-medicine-for-hypertension.pdf

Towards personalised medicine for hypertension
Professor Cathryn Lewis, Professor Phil Chowienczyk, Dr Raquel Iniesta

Hypertension is recognised as the biggest contributor to the global burden of disease, a burden that is particularly great in ethnic minorities in the UK and in lower and middle-income countries. The efficacy of anti-hypertensive drugs differs by ethnicity, with “black” African and “white” Europeans differing in their response to different classes of drugs. NICE guidelines recognise response to first line drug treatment varies by age and self-defined ethnicity, but we have limited understanding of how to account for this in personalizing treatment. Advice on first-line single drug treatments is given according to whether ethnicity is “black” or “white”, but this excludes South Asians, the largest ethnic minority group in the UK. 

The AIM HY MRC Stratified Medicine consortium is investigating how ‘omics technology will personalise antihypertensive therapy, particularly with respect to ethnicity. In a re-analysis of US clinical trials, we have shown that self defined ancestry is a poor predictor of response to treatment, and can be improved using genetically defined ancestry, particularly in participants of mixed race. This PhD studentship will work closely with AIM HY researchers to develop these ideas further in the UK population. This PhD will cover several interlinked research projects that exploit diverse research studies and epidemiological studies to develop personalised medicine for hypertension. 

The research plan is: 
1. Extend current analysis to look at new UK clinical trial data sets with genotype data, extending the ethnicities in our previous model to reflect the UK population. 
2. Assess the role that genetic variation in sodium retaining genes plays in cross-ethnicity response to anti-hypertensive treatment, since inappropriate sodium and water retention is thought to contribute to a large proportion of cases of primary hypertension, especially in people of African ethnicity. 
3. Analyse anti-hypertensive treatment data in UK Biobank, looking at blood pressure at baseline, and using the GP linkage data to track response to treatment, by ethnicity, and by genetics. 
4. Perform statistical modelling of ‘real world’ response data, with longitudinal blood pressure measures from data sets like CPRD, internal research studies, and UK Biobank. 

The student will develop a tool-kit of analytical approaches that are in demand for translational research and personalised medicine, including statistical genetics, machine learning, and longitudinal analysis of multivariate phenotypes and predictive modelling. This research project is most suitable for students with a background in mathematics or other quantitative sciences (e.g. bioinformatics, computer science), and we are keen to encourage such students into biomedical research. We would also welcome applications from biomedical science students who can show a strong commitment to developing these statistical skills

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Biomedical Research Centre
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London
PhD Studentships in Translational Medicine
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTFT) and King’s College London (KCL) is one of five new comprehensive Biomedical Research Centres in the UK. The Centre has a strong focus on translational research taking advances in basic medical research out of the laboratory and into the clinical setting; the GSTFT/KCL Centre is building its excellence in translational research capacity through training and education.

We are seeking to appoint outstanding science graduates to a 4 Year or 1+3 PhD Studentship Programme partnered with KCL who will engage in internationally-competitive research projects. There is a choice to complete year one of the programme consisting of a rotation through three project areas and will include formal development of core and generic research skills. This will be followed by 3 years on a chosen PhD project. Alternatively students may enter directly into a 4-year PhD project with compulsory modules.

Candidates must possess, or be expected to achieve, a 1st or good upper 2nd class degree in a relevant subject and must meet KCL eligibility criteria.
Full details of the PhD Studentship Programme Call for Applications, the full list of available PhD Studentship projects and details of how to apply can be found on the BRC website.

For queries please contact [log in to unmask] in the first instance. Informal enquiries about the PhD Studentship projects should be addressed to the designated Project Supervisor.

Closing date for applications under this scheme is Monday 13th March Successful applicants are expected to take up their Studentships in September 2017

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