New PhD Position in Feline Renal Research!

 09 Mar 2022

Exciting new opportunity at the RVC for a PhD in the feline research group! 

RVC Supervisor(s): Dr Rebecca Geddes, Professor Jonathan Elliott, Dr Isabel Orriss

Department: Clinical Science and Services


Project Summary:

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a highly prevalent condition in the ageing cat. Disruption in calcium-phosphate homeostasis occurs following a loss of nephrons with this condition, resulting in chronic kidney disease-mineral and bone disorder (CKD-MBD). Recent work has discovered that calcium and phosphate ions are transported in the body by calciprotein particles which protect cells and tissues from their inappropriate deposition. 

The form and quantity of dietary phosphate influences its bioavailability and gastrointestinal absorption; if this exceeds the capacity of the calciprotein particle system, post-prandial hyperphosphataemia and phosphaturia result. Increased phosphate load in the proximal tubular cells appears to be nephrotoxic. Dietary phosphate restriction in cats with azotaemic CKD is the current mainstay of treatment, however, the optimum dietary phosphate intake in older healthy cats or those with pre-azotaemic CKD is currently unknown.

We hypothesize that dietary phosphate form and concentration contributes to the high prevalence of azotaemic CKD in older cats and that increased understanding of the optimal way to feed phosphates in this species could enable us to reduce the rate of functional kidney decline in the cat population. The aims of this PhD are:

  1. to explore the benefits and potential adverse effects of restricting phosphate intake for cats with non-azotaemic early CKD
  2. to examine if slowing intestinal absorption of phosphate can reduce the risk of healthy senior cats developing azotaemic chronic kidney disease related to tubular toxicity induced by phosphate
  3. to explore if we can identify the stage at which adaptive physiological mechanisms to maintain phosphate homeostasis become counter-productive in early stage CKD



  1. Finch et al (2013) Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF-23) concentrations in cats with early nonazotemic chronic kidney disease (CKD) and in healthy geriatric cats; Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 27, 227-233
  2. Santamaría et al (2018) Increased phosphaturia accelerates the decline in renal function: A search for mechanisms; Scientific Reports 8, 13701
  3. Shiizaki et al (2021) Calcium phosphate microcrystals in the renal tubular fluid accelerate chronic kidney disease progression; Journal of Clinical Investigation 131, e145693




  • Must meet our standard PhD entry requirements
  • MRCVS or a veterinary degree registerable with MRCVS
  • Excellent communication and team working skills and a strong interest in feline medicine



  • Prior experience of research at undergraduate or post-graduate level is desirable


This is a four year fully funded studentship, funded by Royal Canin. The student will recieve a stipend and "Home" rate tuition fees are covered. International applicants are welcome to apply but must be able to fund the difference between "Home" and "Overseas" tuition fees. 

Please note that EU/EEA and Swiss national students may no longer be eligible to pay the “home” rate of tuition fees nor claim any financial support for their studies dependent on personal circumstances (including immigration status and residence history in the UK). To help determine whether you would be eligible for home fees please see the UKCISA's 'Who pays 'home' fees for higher education in England?' guide found here.

The studentship will commence October 2022.


How to Apply

For more information on the application process and English language requirements see please see How to Apply.

If you are interested in applying for this position, please follow the link below.  Please use your personal statement to demonstrate any previous skills or experience you have that are relevant to this project. 

Interviews will take place over zoom mid April

We welcome informal enquiries - these should be directed to Dr Rebecca Geddes 

Deadline: 28/03/2022