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PhD Studentship: Magnetic resonance imaging of intrabdominal lymphatics and vasculature in Inflammatory Bowel Disease


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Sunday 31 December 2023
Reference:  MED1959

Contact: Prof Gordon Moran

Deadline: 31/12/23 at 5.00 pm UK time

Type: Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Applications are invited for a PhD project funded by an investigator-initiated grant awarded to Prof Gordon W. Moran: MagnetiC ResOnance ImagiNg of intrabdominal lymphatiCs and vasculaturE as measures of disease activity in Ozanimod-treated patients with active UlceratIVE Colitis (CONCEIVE)

The PhD studentship will be available from 01/02/2024 to 31/07/2027.

The lymphatic system forms a vital part of the immune system as well providing a network to transport lipids and regulate interstitial fluid levels. Non-invasive measures of lymph node activity through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could provide novel markers of local inflammatory activity. Active inflammatory bowel disease is radiologically manifested as hypervascularity of the mesentery, including vascular dilation and wide spacing of the vasa recta. We have previously developed an algorithm to track the intrabdominal vessels on a 3D maximum intensity projection of a Time of Flight-Magnetic Resonance Angiography (TOF-MRA) scan and calculate the number of branching points in the intrabdominal vessels (arborization). We have shown a significant increase in vessel arborisation in patients with active Crohn’s disease when compared to healthy controls.

The aim of this studentship is to improve and refine our non-invasive measure of lymph node activity and blood flow using MRI in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

The successful applicant will join a multi-disciplinary research environment and learn a variety of MRI imaging and cutting-edge data analysis techniques, working as part of our world leading Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre. Development of new image data analysis methods will be part of the project and therefore good computing skills are desirable.

Based at the Nottingham Digestive Diseases Centre (NDDC), within academic unit of Translational Medical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham. The NDDC ( is one of the largest gastrointestinal (GI) and liver academic units in the country and provides a wide range of research opportunities. It hosts the GI and Liver Disorders theme of National Institute for Health and Care Research funded Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre (NIHR Nottingham BRC). The student will work closely with the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre is an interdisciplinary, cross-faculty centre for innovative imaging in experimental and translational medicine, bringing together researchers who develop new medical imaging techniques with clinicians and scientists who use them. We have a number of fully dedicated MRI scanners at different fields. 

This studentship is funded through a grant from Bristol Myers Squib awarded to Prof G W. Moran and will be undertaken in collaboration with Dr Iyad Naim from Motilent. 

The PhD will be supervised by Prof Gordon Moran (Professor of Gastroenterology), Professor Penny Gowland (Professor of Physics) and Dr Caroline Hoad (Senior Research Fellow) at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre.


Applicants should hold, or expect to hold, a First or Upper Second-Class UK degree (or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK) in a relevant scientific subject. Completion/near completion of an MSc or MRes course is desirable. This project requires a highly motivated and driven candidate. Full time from 01/02/2024 for 3 years 

The studentship is fully funded (fees and maintenance) and is only available to graduates who are eligible for UK/Home PhD fee status. Due to funding restrictions, international students cannot be considered.

Informal enquiries should be directed to

Closing date for applications: 31/12/23 at 5.00 pm UK time.

´╗┐Formal applications can be made online through the University of Nottingham’s online application system:



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