Arthritis Research UK Medical Research Council

CIMA Training

An important objective for CIMA is to build research capacity in integrated musculoskeletal ageing through training early career researchers and clinicians. CIMA has developed a training programme that will supply researchers with an advanced knowledge of the integrated musculoskeletal system along with complementary and multidisciplinary research techniques and skills, that will benefit academic, industrial, and public sector employers.

***Fully-funded 4-year PhD Studentship opportunities - deadline to apply 4th June 2017***

Programme Overview
This unique programme offers students multidisciplinary training in the processes and effects of ageing in the whole musculoskeletal system. Students will be based in one of our three sites, Liverpool, Sheffield or Newcastle, and will spend the first year of the studentship undertaking our MRes in Musculoskeletal Ageing. Students will undertake placements in the laboratories of one or more of the collaborating partners and have access to an industrial mentor.

We are currently offering 8 studentships commencing September 2017. The available projects are listed below. If you would like to discuss the project in further detail please contact the supervisor using the email address given.

1. Epigenetic, genetic and functional analysis of the growth differentiation factor 5 gene GDF5 in development dysplasia of the hip and in osteoarthritis; from development of the musculoskeletal system through to ageing.
Professor John Loughlin (, Newcastle University

2. Investigation of the effect of age-related methylation changes within enhancer regions on target gene expression using CRISPR-Ca9 technology.
Dr Louise Reynard (, Newcastle University

3. The role of epigenetics in tendon ageing: investigation of the effect of age and disease on the methlyation and non-coding RNA changes in tendon.
Dr Mandy Peffers (, University of Liverpool

4. The role of regulatory RNAs in the ageing muscle and their modulation by diet
Dr Joao Pedro De Magalhaes (, University of Liverpool

5. Do vitamin D and protein synergise with physical activity to enhance musculoskeletal health across ageing: a complex intervention
Dr Elizabeth Williams (, University of Sheffield

6. Nutritional modulation of epigenetic signatures of musculoskeletal ageing
Dr Elizabeth Laird (, University of Liverpool

7. Can time-scheduled exercise improve age-associated epigenetic signature of genes regulating circadian timing in the musculoskeletal system?
Dr Vanja Pekovic-Vaughan (, University of Liverpool

8. Computational modelling to identify novel anti-inflammatory interventions to preserve musculoskeletal function in old mice
Professor Anne McArdle (, University of Liverpool

Funding and eligibility

Students should have home or EU status: studentships for UK applicants comprise tuition fees, research support costs and a tax-free stipend at the Research Council rate, while EU applicants may be eligible for a full award if they have been ordinarily resident in the UK for 3 years preceding the date of application.
Candidates should have or expect to hold a first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant biological science or clinical degree.

To apply

Please complete an application form and send this along with your CV to by the 4th June 2017

Successful applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application the week commencing 12th June. Interviews will be held between the 26th June - 7th July in York.

Other training opportunities

MRes in Musculoskeletal Ageing
CIMA has developed a bespoke training programme in musculoskeletal ageing leading to the degree award of Masters of Research.
The programme is delivered by CIMA and utilises the knowledge, expertise and world-class facilities of each University to produce a collaborative and unique training experience. For more information please visit our CIMA MRes page.

MRC DiMeN Doctoral Training Partnership
The MRC DiMeN (Discovery Medicine North) is a Doctoral Training Partnership between the Universities of Sheffield, Liverpool, Newcastle and Leeds. One of the research themes is Ageing and Disease, and CIMA plays an integral role to provide training in the processes and effects of ageing in the musculoskeletal system, how ageing contributes to diseases of the musculoskeletal system, and how these may be ameliorated to help preserve mobility and independence in older people.

Training for Clinicians
CIMA has provided support to establish three Clinical Research Fellows who have undertaken research training in musculoskeletal ageing for a minimum period of 12 months. CIMA also offers training opportunities for Academic Clinical Fellows (ACF) in associated specialties (e.g. rheumatology, Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgery). For more information on opportunities available please contact the Centre Manager in the first instance.