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PhD Studentship Opportunity

An investigation of anti-fibrotic cellular mechanisms in the human renal system to identify novel therapeutic targets

SWT Institute for Renal Research, St George’s University of London & Queen Mary’s University of London
Supervisors: Dr Mark Dockrell,
Professor Viji Draviam,
Dr Mysore Phanish


The SWT Institute for Renal Research, opened in 1998, is dedicated to understanding the pathology of renal disease and identifying novel therapeutic targets. Located adjacent to the Renal Unit of St Helier hospital, the Institute benefits from strong clinical and patient input. The Institute is academically affiliated to St George’s University of London. This project builds on work in the Institute identifying novel fibrotic pathways dependent on glucose influx into human renal cells through the Sodium Glucose Transporter 2 (SGLT2) (Pan et al, Biosci Rep. 2021).

This next phase of the research is being carried out in collaboration with The Draviam Lab, Queen Mary, University of London at the BBSRC and MRC funded Center for Cell Dynamics hosting cutting-edge live-cell microscopes including the Elyra 7 and Lattice Lightsheet 7.

SGLT2 is a low affinity sodium-dependent glucose cotransporter involved in glucose reabsorption in the kidney. SGLT2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) are a class of drug developed to treat Type 2 diabetes by reducing glucose reabsorption into the circulation and increasing its loss in urine. Our previous work identified novel SGLT2-mediated pathological intracellular signalling pathways.  

This project focuses on pathological processes reported in diabetic kidney disease and how they may be prevented by selectively targeting novel SGLT2 mediated signalling.  The project uses cellular and molecular biological approaches combined with high resolution live cell imaging to monitor the effects of glucose on the cells and their inhibition in the presence of SGLT2i. The project will also investigate whether aptamers can be used to selectively target relevant intracellular signalling pathways. Kidney epithelial and glomerular endothelial cells will be used in this study.  The project will be well suited to candidates keen on developing clinical applications taking advantage of frontier cell biology research methods.  The student will be part of the Greater London Cell Biology and kidney research environment and will be supported to participate in research conferences, meetings and society events worldwide.

Further information and Application

Informal enquiries may be addressed to the principal supervisors:

Dr. Mark Dockrell ( and Dr. Mysore Phanish (

Live-cell imaging specific queries may be addressed to the collaborator Prof Viji Draviam ( For information on cell dynamics facilities please visit the website:

This Studentship is funded by
Kidney Research UK

The Kidney Fund

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