PhD studentship opportunity: Feline CKD at the Royal Veterinary College

 05 Apr 2018

RVC Supervisor(s): Dr Rosanne Jepson, Professor Jonathan Elliott

Department: Clinical Science and Services

Feline chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects up to 80% of cats >15 years and is a cause of morbidity in the ageing feline population. The most common histopathological diagnosis is tubulointerstitial nephritis (TIN); characterized by tubulointersitial inflammation and fibrosis, progressive nephron loss and reduction in renal function. Understanding mechanisms that contribute to the development and progression of TIN brings the prospect of intervening to slow the onset of clinically significant disease.

Studies support that concurrent conditions, particularly those with a pro-inflammatory drive have secondary effects on the kidney and contribute to disease progression. These include periodontal disease and chronic urinary tract infections, the latter which may have direct impact on renal function and inflammation through ascending infections. In addition, associations have been identified between inflammation and fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23); a phosphaturic hormone recognized to be of importance in CKD-Mineral and Bone Disorder in the cat, thus linking the concept of both systemic and bone inflammation in renal disease. Furthermore, preliminary experimental and human clinical studies, link key bone markers such as periostin with alteration in renal function and increased renal expression of periostin. In feline medicine, it is challenging to recommend interventions for dental disease where procedures require general anaesthesia. However, data that supported the hypothesis that these conditions contribute to systemic inflammation and progression of renal disease would have the potential to change clinical practice and promote more timely management.

The aims of this PhD are:

  • explore serum and urine based inflammatory markers, renal expression (immunohistochemistry/qRT-PRC) and urinary periostin in cats with variable renal function
  • explore the relationship between FGF23 and inflammation in feline CKD and associations with both dental disease and urinary tract infections
  • establish whether optimal treatment of these conditions has an impact on systemic inflammatory markers and progression of disease


  1. Jepson (2016) Current understanding of the pathogenesis of feline chronic kidney disease; Veterinary Clinics of North America – Small Animal Practice 46 (6) 1015-1048
  2. Chambrone et al (2013) Periodontitis and chronic kidney disease; a systematic review of the association of disease and the effect of periodontal treatment on estimated glomerular filtration rate; J Clin Periodontol 40 (5) 443-456
  3. Alfieri et al (2015) Discoid domain receptor -1 and periostin: new players in chronic kidney disease; Nephrol Dial Transplant 20 (12) 1965-1971

Essential requirements

  • MRCVS or a veterinary degree registerable with MRCVS
  • Excellent communication and team working skills and a strong interest in feline medicine

Desirable requirements

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

This is a three year fully-funded studentship, and is open to Home/EU applicantsInternational students are welcome to apply but must be able to fund the difference between UK/EU and international tuition fees.

The studentship will commence in October 2018.

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. 

How to apply 

For more information on the application process and English Language requirements see How to Apply. Applications should be made via UKPASS.

Interviews - will be held in the week Mid May at RVC’s Hawkshead Campus

We welcome informal enquiries - these should be directed to: Dr Rosanne Jepson

Deadline: 25/04/2018