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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

PhD Studentship: Integrative Investigation of Neurodegeneration (in vivo) [Closed]

Published: 12 November 2010

There is an urgent need to better understand the biological mechanism that cause neurodegeneration. This has been recognized by the MRC in the shape of Capacity Building Studentships in the area of Dementia. In Southampton we have been awarded two studentships in this area in recognition of our capacity for research with a critical mass across the field of neurodegeneration.

Project Description:

The loss of cognitive function that defines human dementia clearly involves dysfunction at the molecular, cellular and systems level. The current position will use animal model in which the ensuing neurodegeneration serves as a more general model for aspects of Alzheimer’s and other protein misfolding disease (Cunningham et al., 2003, Fernandez-Chacon et al, 2003). In particular the project will investigate how synapses in defined circuits of the hippocampus that control cognitive behaviours undergo degeneration. To do this we will use a combination of molecular, cell biological and anatomical techniques to investigate how synaptic disconnection (synaptopathy) impacts the function of important neural networks that control behaviour. In the real world the degeneration, particularly suffered by the aging, is accelerated by processes like infection which lead to inflammation (Holmes et al., 2004). A further aim of the current work will be to use our expertise in immuno-brain interactions to investigate how inflammation dependent interacts with synapses to accelerate dementia.

The work recognizes the modern neuroscientist requires broad training across sub-disciplines. The Studentship will actively encourage the acquisition of such skills including those that are actively required in Pharmaceutical Industry ( Further the studentship will be supported by the School of Biological Sciences Graduate School that has a broad portfolio of specialist and generic training required in the modern workplace.


Dr. V. O'Connor and Professor Hugh Perry


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: January 2011 or October 2011

Application Deadline: December 1st 2010

General enquiries:

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


This studentship is fully funded, covering University tuition fees (at UK /EU level) 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.
The first two years from the MRC and the final year will be supported by the Gerald Kerkut Charitable Trust. The trust has a portfolio of training fellowships that explicitly supports the training of post graduate students in the Biomedical sciences. Both sources enable additional monies to ensure further specialist training consummate with the projects requirement for a broad and integrative training.


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