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Research Opportunities

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Prospective Students

The goal of the NIH Oxford-Cambridge (OxCam) Scholars Program is to create, foster, and advance unique and collaborative research opportunities between NIH laboratories and laboratories at the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge. Each OxCam Scholar develops a collaborative research project that will constitute his/her doctoral training. Each Scholar also select two mentors – one at the NIH and one in the UK – who work together to guide the Scholar throughout the research endeavor.

Students may select from two categories of projects: Self-designed or Prearranged. OxCam Scholars may create a self-designed project, which enables students to develop a collaborative project tailored to his/her specific scientific interests by selecting one NIH mentor and one UK mentor with expertise in the desired research area(s). Alternatively, students may select a prearranged project provided by NIH and/or UK Investigator(s) willing to mentor an OxCam Scholar in their lab.

Self-designed Projects: Students may create a novel (or de novo) project based on their unique research interests. Students have the freedom to contact any PI at NIH or at Oxford or Cambridge to build a collaboration from scratch. The NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) represents a community of approximately 1,200 tenured and tenure-track investigators providing a wealth of opportunity to explore a wide variety of research interests. Students may visit https://irp.nih.gov to identify NIH PIs performing research in the area of interest. For additional tips on choosing a mentor, please visit our Training Plan.

Prearranged Projects: Investigators at NIH or at Oxford or Cambridge have voluntarily offered collaborative project ideas for NIH OxCam Scholars. These projects are provided below and categorized by research area, NIH Institute/Center, and University. In some cases, a full collaboration with two mentors is already in place. In other instances, only one PI is identified, which allows the student to select a second mentor to complete the collaboration. Please note that prearranged project offerings are continuously updated throughout the year and are subject to change.

4 Search Results

174
Category:
Chemical Biology
Project:

Revealing circuit mechanisms of contextual control of feeding behaviour

Project Listed Date:
Institute or Center:
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
NIH Mentor:

Dr. Michael Krashes

UK Mentor:

Prof. David Dupret

University:
Oxford
Project Details:

Humans and animals adjust their feeding behaviour according to many environmental factors, including the spatial context where food is found and consumed. Such contextual control of food seeking and eating is notably central to the ability to meet future needs and maximise chances of survival to changes in feeding routines, and may also impact abnormal feeding behaviour. However, the underpinning brain network mechanisms and pathways remain unclear. The Dupret laboratory (MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit at the University of Oxford) investigates how the concerted spiking activity of neurons supports memory and the Krashes laboratory (NIH/NIDDK) investigates homeostatic and non-homeostatic feeding behaviour. An integrated project between the two labs, in collaboration with an NIH OxCam Scholar would be designed to enable the pursuit of a Ph.D. revealing circuit mechanisms of contextual control of feeding behaviour using in vivo large-scale network recordings in behaving rodents, combined with optogenetic and closed-loop manipulations.

164
Category:
Chemical Biology
Project:

Mapping protein-metabolite interactions on a proteome-wide scale

Project Listed Date:
Institute or Center:
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
NIH Mentor:

Dr. Jordan Meier

UK Mentor:

Prof. Killian Huber

University:
Oxford
Project Details:

In order to maintain homeostasis in response to environmental changes such as nutrient availability, eukaryotic cells have evolved intricate mechanisms to quickly increase or decrease the activity of fundamental processes such as gene expression, protein expression and degradation. Indeed, several metabolites act as cofactors for important cellular enzymes that regulate e.g. chromatin state and serve as templates for posttranslational modifications flagging proteins for proteolysis via the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Consequently, the identification of metabolites and complementary binding domains has broadened our understanding of human physiology and contributed to the development of new medicines to treat malignant and inflammatory disease. The aim of this project is to systematically map protein-metabolite interactions on a proteome-wide scale by combining the development of specific metabolite-inspired affinity reagents with unbiased approaches such as thermal profiling to dissect metabolite signalling in the context of protein degradation pathways in various cell types. Applicants will have the opportunity to take advantage of a unique combination of synthetic organic chemistry and cell biology techniques to identify new potential drug targets and develop first-in-class ligands for key regulators of protein homeostasis.

161
Category:
Chemical Biology
Project:

Chemical biology tools to study crosstalk between cell metabolism and protein degradation

Project Listed Date:
Institute or Center:
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
NIH Mentor:

Dr. Jordan Meier

UK Mentor:

Prof. Kilian Huber

University:
Oxford
Project Details:

In order to maintain homeostasis in response to environmental changes such as nutrient availability, eukaryotic cells have evolved intricate mechanisms to quickly increase or decrease the activity of fundamental processes such as gene expression, protein expression and degradation. Indeed, several metabolites act as cofactors for important cellular enzymes that regulate e.g. chromatin state and serve as templates for posttranslational modifications flagging proteins for proteolysis via the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Consequently, the identification of metabolites and complementary binding domains has broadened our understanding of human physiology and contributed to the development of new medicines to treat malignant and inflammatory disease. The aim of this project is to systematically map protein-metabolite interactions on a proteome-wide scale by combining the development of specific metabolite-inspired affinity reagents with unbiased approaches such as thermal profiling to dissect metabolite signalling in the context of protein degradation pathways in various cell types. Applicants will have the opportunity to take advantage of a unique combination of synthetic organic chemistry and cell biology techniques to identify new potential drug targets and develop first-in-class ligands for key regulators of protein homeostasis.

142
Category:
Chemical Biology
Project:

Determine how changes in blood glucose can affect hunger and its role in diabetes

Project Listed Date:
Institute or Center:
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
NIH Mentor:

Dr. Michael Krashes

UK Mentor:

Dr. Mark Evans

University:
Cambridge
Project Details:

This project aims to determine how changes in blood glucose can affect hunger and the drive to feed and examine how this can be altered in conditions such as diabetes.

 

Hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) is a complication of the treatment of diabetes with insulin. It is feared by people with diabetes and is associated with increased risk of death. One of the important defences against a falling blood glucose is the generation of hunger- a potent defence which both warns and directs towards corrective action to help restore blood glucose. A subset of people with diabetes develop defective defensive responses to and warning symptoms (including hunger) of hypoglycaemia. This puts them at a markedly increased risk of suffering severe episodes of hypoglycaemia.

 

We want to determine how hypoglycaemic feeding is triggered and the mechanisms by which this may become altered in diabetes. To examine this in murine models, we will combine the skills of Evans’ laboratory (hypoglycaemia, insulin clamp methodology, operant conditioning feeding assessment) located within the Institute of Metabolic Science with broader interest and expertise in appetite and feeding with Krashes’ laboratory (neurocircuitry of feeding) to examine how and where glucoprivic feeding maps onto both conventional feeding pathways and also the neurocircuitry which triggers other counter-regulatory responses to hypoglycaemia. The student will examine how this adapts after exposure to antecedent hypoglycaemia. Finally, they will examine potential therapeutic targets to boost/ restore or prevent the loss of protective hunger in diabetes with recurrent hypoglycaemia.

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