Funded studentships at the Kennedy Institute

The Kennedy Trust funds the Institute’s Prize Studentships, a highly competitive Doctoral Training Programme with stipends and research support equivalent to the Wellcome Trust’s four-year PhD programmes.

Doctoral students benefit from strong, cohesive teams with a wide range of skills alongside world-class principal investigators. Access to state of the art techniques and equipment, supported by a progressive ethos, stimulates science of the highest calibre. A roster of visiting speakers allows researchers to deepen their understanding and knowledge beyond their own areas of expertise.

SELECTED RECIPIENTS

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Philippos Demetriou

Philippos came to the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology after undergraduate studies in Biochemistry at Imperial College London and a research internship in a paediatric allergy and clinical immunology lab at the University of Athens. He studied for an MSc in Integrated Immunology at the University of Oxford, following which the Kennedy Trust made it possible for him to read for a DPhil in Molecular Medicine at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology. Using mainly fluorescent microscopy, Demetriou is investigating T cell behaviour by monitoring signals that might explain such pathogenic mechanisms in a form of autoimmune arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis.

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Pradeep Kumar Sacitharan

Pradeep is investigating ageing biology in osteoarthritis under Professor Tonia Vincent. This follows a Masters at Imperial College London, a prize studentship awarded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, specialising in experimental physiology and drug discovery. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, characterised by cartilage breakdown and inflammation. The primary risk factor for osteoarthritis is age. For the last twenty years, an enzyme called SIRT1 has been extensively shown to control various age related cellular pathways. My project aims to explore the role of SIRT1 in osteoarthritis and to investigate its therapeutic potential to treat the disease.

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Christine Doherty

Christine joined the Institute after studies at Trinity College Dublin in Membrane Structural and Functional Biology.

Christine’s project involves the investigation of Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase 3 (TIMP-3) which inhibits the enzymatic degradation of cartilage. TIMP-3 in cartilage is absorbed back into cartilage cells by a process called endocytosis, resulting in an increase in cartilage degradation which leads to osteoarthritis. Her research topic is the design and generation of an endocytosis resistant mutant of TIMP-3 to remain in the cartilage, thereby reducing the activity of damaging enzymes and improving protection against cartilage breakdown.