Skip to content
Doctoral student in a lab

Investigation of the role molecular regulators in skin diseases (psoriasis) and cancer formation.

  • School: School of Science and Technology
  • Starting: 2021
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Self-funded


Skin morphogenesis occurs under stringent control of epithelial-mesenchymal interactions and result in a formation of the epidermis and a number of different skin appendages (including, the hair follicle, HF). Skin serves as an important source of adult stem cells (SCs) required for formation and regeneration of the skin Therefore, making it a highly tractable model system to explore the genetic circuits of self-renewal, maintenance and differentiation underlying tissue development, regeneration of adult epithelia.

This programme will specifically focus on defining the role of molecular regulators which underlie; i) psoriasis and ii) Hidradenitis suppurativa.

Psoriasis is an inflammatory, T-cell-mediated skin disease possessing a variable distribution, severity and course from patient to patient. It affects ~3% of the world population, although the regional prevalence may differ. Immunologically it is characterized by the intense proliferation and aberrant differentiation of keratinocytes, and the infiltration of the epidermis with lymphocytes and neutrophils wherein T-cells, dendritic cells and certain inflammatory cytokines act as the principal actors. In addition to immunological involvement, psoriasis has been shown to possess genetic susceptibility and is susceptible to environmental triggers. While, hidradenitis suppurativa is a painful, long term skin condition that causes abscesses and scarring on the skin. The exact cause of hidradenitis suppurativa is unknown, but it occurs near hair follicles where there are sweat glands, usually around the groin, bottom, breasts and armpits. This will lead to the identification and targeting of the molecular regulators identified and required for normal skin homeostasis and regeneration.

This project will build on the work of Dr. Mohammed Ahmed, supported by additional supervisors with complementary specialist expertise, all having published in high quality journals.  The Ahmed group is within the world-leading REF2014 Biomedical Sciences Research Centre and has experience of a range of molecular cell biology techniques, including mammalian cell culture, in situ hybridization expression analysis, immunofluorescence, real time QPCR and Western blot analysis. The Ahmed lab is situated in the School of Science and Technology, which encourages multidisciplinary research and has a diverse and supportive postgraduate community.

Duration: typical three years full time

Funding: self-funded students only

Supervisors: Dr. Mohammed Ahmed

Entry qualifications

Applicants should hold, or be expected to hold, a UK Master’s degree (or UK equivalent according to NARIC) with a minimum of a commendation, and/or a UK 1st Class / 2.1 Bachelor’s Honour’s Degree (or UK equivalent according to NARIC) in Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, or a related Biosciences related subject.

How to apply

Applications are accepted all year round.

For a step-by-step guide and to make an application, please visit our how to apply page.

Fees and funding

This PhD is self-funded.

Guidance and support

Further guidance and support on how to apply can be found on this page.

Still need help?

Dr M Ahmed