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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

PhD studentship: How does intracellular protein misfolding in glial cells lead to neuronal dysfunction? [Closed]

Published: 8 July 2010
School of Biological Sciences

This PhD project seeks to understand how intracellular protein misfolding and aggregation caused by polyQ containing proteins cause dysfunction in astrocytes and whether altered astrocytic function impacts on neuronal well-being.

Project Description

Glial cells (microglia, astrocytes) play a key role for mammalian neuronal functions in the brain by regulating energetics and antioxidant levels. Recent data has shown that glial cells may also play a significant role during neurodegeneration associated with dementia (e.g. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)). Glial cells can either protect against neuronal damage or promote it, for example, by accelerating neuronal damage through inflammatory processes. Protein misfolding and aggregation is associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as AD, Huntington’s Disease (HD) and Parkinson's Disease.

Considerable attention has been paid to the role of astrocytes and microglia in neuronal function during AD pathology and cell culture systems and animal models have mainly focused on extracellular Aβ aggregation. However, it is unknown how intracellular protein misfolding and aggregation leads to glial dysfunction and what the nature of glial-neuronal interactions are that lead to neuronal damage.

This PhD project seeks to understand how intracellular protein misfolding and aggregation caused by polyQ containing proteins (associated with HD) cause dysfunction in astrocytes and whether/how altered astrocytic function impacts on neuronal well-being. Various cell-biological and biochemical techniques will be employed and there is also the possibility to test certain hypothesis in mouse models of neurodegeneration.

We are looking for highly motivated individuals with prior lab experience in a similar research area for a 3-year project starting on 1st of October 2010.

Supervisors

Dr. A Wyttenbach and Professor V. H. Perry.

Requirements

The studentship is available to candidates with the equivalent of a first class or upper second class degree in a relevant discipline.

Key information

Start date: October 2010

Application Deadline: 23rd July 2010

General enquiries: sbsgradi@southampton.ac.uk.

To find out more about how to apply for research opportunities in the School of Biological Sciences, click here.

Funding

This is a fully funded studentship for UK nationals covering University tuition fees and provides a tax-free bursary of £13,590 per year, rising annually in line with the UK Government (Research Councils) recommended rate, for a three year duration.

 

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