The project:

Myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) is the commonest canine cardiac disease, affecting millions of dogs worldwide. Prognosis is variable; while some dogs experience severe, progressive disease, in others MMVD can be more benign. At present, we can only identify progressive disease once the heart has already enlarged; earlier identification could allow more targeted monitoring of at-risk dogs.  Treatment recommendations are based on echocardiography, which is frequently unavailable; circulating biomarkers therefore represent an attractive alternative. Hormones released in MMVD damage the glycocalyx, a gel-like layer protecting the vascular endothelium and red blood cells (RBC). This project  will look for evidence of glycocalyx damage (using a novel, world-leading method developed in our laboratory) and endothelial injury (using biomarker measurement and flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD)) in an ongoing longitudinal study of dogs with MMVD. This study aims to develop a novel circulating biomarker for improved MMVD management and to generate new hypotheses as to its pathophysiology and possible treatment targets.

The successful candidate will receive training in all clinical (e.g. FMD), laboratory (e.g. glycocalyx depth measurement and ELISAs) and statistical methods used, as well as lectures, seminars and workshops, tailored to the stage of the PhD project. They will also be involved in generation of clinical data through participation in research clinics.

How to apply:

Please make an online application for this project at Please select ‘Faculty of Health Sciences’ and then ‘Veterinary Sciences_(PhD)’ on the Programme Choice page and enter details of the studentship when prompted in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form. Please use your personal statement to demonstrate any skills or experience you have that are relevant to this project.

Candidate requirements:

The ideal candidate will be a veterinary surgeon who is equally enthusiastic about laboratory work as communicating with dog owners. Although advanced knowledge of clinical cardiology, statistics and laboratory skills is not essential, a genuine enthusiasm to learn is required. The successful applicant will be required to participate in a research clinic that generates clinical data for research into MMVD. The candidate will undertake some work at the University of Bristol Langford campus (e.g. clinical data collection) and some work on the central campus (e.g. laboratory work).



  • While not essential, applications from veterinary surgeons who have completed an internship, residency or a certificate are particularly encouraged
  • Research experience is desirable, but not essential


This is a 3.5 year fully-funded studentship by Bristol Veterinary School. The studentship is open to applicants eligible for “Home” fees. International students are welcome to apply but must be able to fund the difference between UK and International tuition fees.

The studentship will ideally commence 10th January 2022 and the funding will cover tuition fees and a stipend.


We welcome informal enquiries – these should be directed to Melanie Hezzell (


#Endothelial #health #glycocalyx #damage #canine #myxomatous #mitral #valve #disease #University #Bristol
#Endothelial #health #glycocalyx #damage #canine #myxomatous #mitral #valve #disease #University #Bristol