School of Nursing and Midwifery

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PHD Student awarded Santander Mobility Scholarship

1/03/2016


PhD student Matt Carson has been awarded a £5,000 Santander Mobility Scholarship to expand his PhD research.  His project aims to find treatments for musculoskeletal conditions and bone trauma, such as osteoporosis and complex fractures by researching novel chemicals from marine creatures. Using extracts of marine invertebrates collected from the west coast of Ireland, project work so far has focused on testing these with osteoblasts (the cell responsible for bone formation in the body) grown in the lab to look for increases in growth and function.The Santander scholarship will allow him to test the most promising extracts using a zebrafish model at the University of Algarve in Portugal. Whilst cell work is useful it cannot completely replace animal research, as both cells and extracts can behave differently inside an organism. Therefore, zebrafish were chosen as an exciting model for assessing bone growth, as they have similar skeletal cells to humans. They also develop quickly, growing back fins 5 days after damage and producing easily viewed bones only 16 days after fertilisation. It is hoped that by growing fish in water containing extracts we can see how bone formation is affected, bringing these treatments one step closer to the clinic. 

The Santander scholarship will allow him to test the most promising extracts using a zebrafish model at the University of Algarve in Portugal. Whilst cell work is useful it cannot completely replace animal research, as both cells and extracts can behave differently inside an organism. Therefore, zebrafish were chosen as an exciting model for assessing bone growth, as they have similar skeletal cells to humans. They also develop quickly, growing back fins 5 days after damage and producing easily viewed bones only 16 days after fertilisation. It is hoped that by growing fish in water containing extracts we can see how bone formation is affected, bringing these treatments one step closer to the clinic. 

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