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

Department: Comparative Biomedical Sciences


Project Summary:

Bone mineral disturbances (BMD) are a major complicating factor associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and phosphate restriction is the only treatment of feline CKD that has been shown to improve survival. The discovery of the phosphotonin, FGF23 and its co-factor α-klotho and the recognition that FGF23 predicts survival and progression of CKD in cats has generated new biomarkers with which to study BMD at earlier stages of CKD. In addition, the recent new epidemiological finding of the association of low serum magnesium concentrations with more severe BMD may indicate a new approach to the management of BMD associated with feline CKD. However, routine treatment of feline CKD with dietary phosphate restriction has been associated hypercalcaemia in a small proportion of cats and the pathophysiology of feline idiopathic hypercalcaemia and its association with CKD is poorly understood. Thus there are several knowledge gaps in BMD of feline CKD which this PhD project aims to fill. This PhD project will address the following questions:

  1. Does supplementation of magnesium improve control of bone mineral disturbances in feline CKD?
  2. What factors can be used to predict the occurrence of hypercalcaemia in cats with CKD?
  3. Is the occurrence of hypercalcaemia related to renal pathology?

A combination of observational and interventional prospective clinical studies and laboratory based molecular techniques will be used to address these questions. Clinical cases of feline CKD will be recruited through two primary care practices in central London will provide the material for the study.



  1.  Van den Broek DHN, Chang YM, Elliott J, Jepson RE. Prognostic importance of plasma total magnesium in a cohort of cats with azotemic chronic kidney disease. J Vet Intern Med. 2018 Jul;32(4):1359-1371.
  2. Geddes RF, Jepson RE, Forcada Y, Elliott J, Syme HM. Associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms in the calcium sensing receptor and chronic kidney disease-mineral and bone disorder in cats. Vet J. 2018 May;235:34-41.
  3. Geddes RF, Elliott J, Syme HM. Relationship between Plasma Fibroblast Growth Factor-23 Concentration and Survival Time in Cats with Chronic Kidney Disease. J Vet Intern Med. 2015 Nov-Dec;29(6):1494-501.



This is an exciting opportunity for a veterinary graduate to join our clinical research team working on problems of the geriatric cat. This training programme is for four years leading to a PhD and will focus on the pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of bone and mineral disorders associated with feline chronic kidney disease. Training will be provided in epidemiology, bioinformatics and molecular genetics, immunological assays and other lab-based molecular techniques.

We require a clinically qualified veterinarian for this project with a strong interest in evidence-based veterinary medicine.  Previous research experience (clinical or laboratory-based) is not an essential requirement.


Applicants should hold a veterinary degree registerable in the UK.

Applicants should be competent veterinary clinicians committed to undertaking research training and to answering important research questions which will impact on future clinical practice.


A BSc or Masters degree in a related biological science or evidence of some research experience gained during the veterinary degree will be an advantage to candidates


This project does not involve work on experimental animals


This is a 4-year fully funded Royal Canin studentship open to Home/EU applicants. International students are welcome to apply but must be able to fund the difference between UK/EU and international tuition fees and the must be able to register to practice in the UK.

The studentship will commence October 2019.

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 in using both qualitative and quantitative research methods.


How to Apply

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

Interviews will be held on 6th August 2019 at RVC’s Camden Campus

We welcome informal enquiries - these should be directed to Professor Jonathan Elliott (jelliott@rvc.ac.uk) or Dr Rebecca Geddes (rgeddes@rvc.ac.uk).

Deadline: 26/07/2019

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