Available self-funded MSc by Research projects

If you are considering self-funding your research degree, or bringing funding from a sponsor, our list of available MSc by Research will give you an idea of the types of research we do in the School of Medicine.

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Investigating the role of redox signalling regulating anti-angiogenic factors in cardiovascular disease using organ-on-a chip and in vivo models

Oxidative stress is explicitly linked with cardiovascular disease.  Oxidative post-translational modifications (oxPTM) of receptors, enzymes and transcription factors play an important role in cell signalling. oxPTMs are a key-way in which oxidative stress can influence cell behaviour during diverse pathological settings such as cardiovascular diseases (CVD). In addition, changes in oxPTM are likely to be ways in which low level reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) may contribute to redox signalling, exerting changes in physiological responses including angiogenesis and cardiac remodelling. 

In the disease setting upsetting the redox homeostasis leads to elevation in oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction.  In obesity and diabetes, endothelial dysfunction often precedes the clinical signs of peripheral artery disease or cardiac hypertrophy.     Understanding the redox sensitive pathways involved in the early stages of disease development is important for targeted therapy.

In this project to decipher the impact of redox signalling on endothelial function we will use a combination of in vivo and in vitro studies. The clinical setting will be mimicked using hind limb ischemia or transverse aortic constriction models.  Cutting-edge in vivo phenotyping (telemetry, laser doppler imaging, left ventricle pressure volume loop) will be applied to novel genetically modified models to understand the physiological role of redox signalling on angiogenesis in peripheral artery disease and cardiac hypertrophy. In addition, this project will utilise stem cell technology to model pathological conditions in combination with this emerging organ-on-a-chip technology to assess redox control of endothelial function via regulation of anti-angiogenic factors.  Advancing these multicellular models will pave the way for high throughput drug screening targeted at endothelial function and the redox pathways. 

This translational project will enable the student to conduct in vivo cardiovascular pre-clinical modelling in combination with in vitro 3D cell technology to interrogate molecular pathways involved in cardiovascular disease.

Subject areas: cardiovascular/diabetes, translational and cellular imaging and engineering
Main supervisor: Colin Murdoch
Informal enquiries: c.z.murdoch@dundee.ac.uk
Apply: Email CV with covering letter to c.z.murdoch@dundee.ac.uk

Investigating non-invasive laser imaging and oxidative biomarkers as an indicator of microvascular function in peripheral artery disease

Endothelial dysfunction is prevalent in obese and elderly individual and in patients who have diabetes. It is a major contributor to peripheral artery disease (PAD) which is characterised by impaired blood flow in peripheral tissues.  In the most severe form, PAD leads to critical limb ischaemia (CLI), where impaired blood flow results in a reduction in oxygenation and nutrition of peripheral tissues results in claudication or resting pain, ulcers, gangrene and in the worst-case scenario, amputation.  The current diagnosis of critical limb ischaemia uses limb pressure in combination with a clinical observation such as resting pain, foot ulcer or gangrene. Diabetes-induced neuropathy exacerbates CLI as the lack of sensation masks one of the key diagnostic factors, resting pain.  In cases of ulcers and gangrene transcutaneous tissue oxygenation (TcPO2) is used to identify the potential of healing in patients with diabetes. Endothelial function can be assessed non-invasively using a Laser Doppler technique measuring dermal microcirculation and may be an earlier predictor of severity.  Yet, currently, the technology is not readily used to assist clinical decisions made in surgery, largely because the technology has employed single point measurements that lack spatial resolution or laser imaging which can lack temporal resolution.  A new technique allows simultaneous measurement of perfusion and oxygenation (pO2) in real time (moorO2Flo).   

The overall aim of this project is to explore the feasibility of use of laser Doppler/laser Speckle contrast imaging to aid clinical assessment and limb viability in patients with critical limb ischaemia and link with biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress. 

Project will validate cutting edge laser technology to assess if dermal microvascular function can provide improved clinical information pre or post operation.  Determine whether Laser imaging of microvascular function can influence intra-op decisions for successful vascular/endovascular reconstruction.  Link clinical assessment with biomarkers of plasma endothelial function including inflammation (interleukins), oxidative stress (Nox, Nrf2), endothelial activation (endothelin-1) and endothelial dysfunction (eNOS).

This translational project will enable the student to conduct imaging and thermal flare assessment in humans, investigate molecular biomarkers, and validate technology for new clinical practice.

Subject areas: cardiovascular/diabetes, translational and cellular imaging and engineering
Main supervisor: Colin MurdochFaisel Khan
Informal enquiries: c.z.murdoch@dundee.ac.uk or f.khan@dundee.ac.uk
Apply: Email CV with covering letter to c.z.murdoch@dundee.ac.uk

Use of smart watches to study seasonal variations in exercise

Recently, smart watches have become available that measure activity in the community, affording the opportunity to define, for the first time, through retrospective observational study, exercise patterns in the UK. Measures include Resting Heart Rate, Heart Rate Variability, Flights Climbed, Active Energy, Steps and Running/Walking Distance. The purpose of the current study will be to examine either seasonal variations in activity and fitness, or the impact of COVID restrictions, using data obtained from smart watches.

Subject areas: sports biomedicine
Main supervisor: Graham Rena
Informal enquiries: g.rena@dundee.ac.uk
Apply: Email CV with covering letter to g.rena@dundee.ac.uk