Pulmonary hypertension

The role of connexins in the pathological remodelling of the heart and lungs

Project reference number: HLSLTC0012


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a terminal disease caused by abnormal growth of cells within the lung arteries. This leads to narrowing and thickening of these arteries, increased workload on the heart and eventually heart failure. Current drugs serve only to prolong life; therefore novel therapeutic strategies are urgently required. Communication between cells is essential for many cellular processes, including growth. One way in which cells can communicate with each other is through channels formed between cells by connexin proteins. Recent evidence suggests connexins, particularly connexin 43 (Cx43), play a role in regulation of the lung arteries and may be a novel therapeutic target for PH. For example, inhibition of Cx43 has effects on growth of cells from lung arteries.


The aim of this project is to use a multi-disciplinary approach to investigate the role of connexins on the remodelling process in PH. We will use cutting edge in vivo techniques such rodent MRI scanning, and in vitro approaches such as primary cell culture to assess the role of connexins in the pathological remodelling of both the pulmonary vasculature and the right heart. This research will inform the development of novel therapeutic approaches to treat PH.

Application deadline

The application deadline for October intake is 1st of July.

Research supervisors

Candidates are encouraged to contact the following researchers for further details:

Modes of study

This project is available as a:

  • PhD: 3 years full-time.


Applicants will normally hold a UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent); or a Masters degree in a subject relevant to the research project. Equivalent professional qualifications and any appropriate research experience may be considered. A minimum English language level of IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) with no element below 6.0 is required. Some research disciplines may require higher levels.

Specific requirements of the project

The successful applicant will hold a minimum of a 2:1 Honours degree in a Life Sciences subject. Previous laboratory research experience is desirable.