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PLEASE NOTE: The application period has closed for this round of PhD studentships. Please re-visit our website in the coming months to discover future opportunities to join the NIHR Southampton BRC.

Four-year PhD to uncover the drivers of Non-

Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease progression using patient derived organoids

Four-year PhD to uncover the drivers of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease progression using patient derived organoids

Development of novel approaches to integrate medical genomic data with extensive electronic healthcare data to improve diagnoses and precision treatments.



The project

The NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) is internationally regarded for the high quality of our translational research in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).

NAFLD represents a spectrum of chronic liver diseases that ultimately increase the risk of liver failure and/or of primary liver cancer. NAFLD is also a major indication for liver transplantation.

Working with research-active surgeons at University Hospital Southampton, we are establishing a laboratory-based research project focused on achieving a greater understanding of the mechanisms driving disease progression and strategies to reverse NAFLD.

The project aims to understand the mechanisms driving the progression of NAFLD toward end stage liver disease using established state-of the-art organoid, omic and imaging technologies to identify potential therapeutic strategies.

We are seeking a talented individual who is keen to undertake research with us towards a PhD thesis.


The skills required

You will have some laboratory experience at undergraduate level. You will undertake a series of studies that enable you to establish liver organoids derived from patient samples, to generate an accessible and scalable system in which to investigate mechanisms driving NAFLD progression at the cellular level. This would allow us to test gene function implicated in NAFLD, and also perform drug screening in vitro, aimed at treating liver disease.


The candidate

You are a UK graduate who has or expects to obtain at least an upper second-class degree in Biological Sciences or allied subjects. You will meet the University of Southampton’s person specification for PhD candidates, which incorporates a full equality, diversity, and inclusivity policy. Funding will cover fees and a stipend at current research council rates.

The supervisory team

Your supervisory team of world leading clinical scientists will be led by Dr Nicole Prior and Dr Jaswinder Sethi, with support from Dr Ryan Buchanan and Professor Chris Byrne, bridging the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre and School of Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton. You will be based in the Faculty of Environment and Life Sciences at the University of Southampton.

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr Nicole Prior (

How to apply

Complete the University of Southampton online application linked below. Please note:

  • You must state project code NLM1 and the Nutrition, Lifestyle and Metabolism theme in the Personal Statement section of the online application.

  • In the supervisor field on the application form please quote reference BRC/UoS/202223/842. You do not need to identify a supervisor.

  • The online application references an Application Assessment Fee which is not required for this BRC project as it is a postgraduate research degree

  • Applicants must hold a 1st class or 2:1 degree in a relevant discipline and/or second degree with a related Masters. Only UK students are eligible to apply in this current round.

  • Stipend will be at least equivalent to UK Research Council maintenance stipend rates (~£16,000). Self-funding students may also be accepted. ​

If you require further information, please contact Kay Mitchell, Senior Research Manager, at, or Karl Staples, Academic Career Development Lead, at Application enquiries can be directed to for the Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences.

Closing date for applications: Friday 15th July 2022

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