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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

PhD Studentship: Improving immunotherapy for Alzheimer’s diseases by modulating Fc Receptor interaction: an antibody engineering approach (in vivo) [CLOSED]

Published: 12 January 2011

Supervisors: Dr. Jessica Teeling, Dr Jeffrey Stavenhagen (Lundbeck, Denmark) and Professor Martin Glennie

Project Description:
In our ageing population, the prevalence of dementia is increasing, but effective treatments are lacking. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, characterized by accumulation of amyloid (A) deposits in the brain. An effective way to remove amyloid is immunotherapy using Aβ-specific antibodies, but this form of therapy is not without risks. Increased FcγR-mediated phagocytosis is regarded an important mechanism for the removal of amyloid, but at the same time, FcγR interaction may increase the risk of side effects, including haemorrhages. In this study we will investigate the role of the different FcγR in clearance of amyloid and test the hypothesis that increased levels of activating FcγR in the CNS will result in increased microglial activation after engaging A-specific antibodies and that the inhibitory FcγR will dampen this detrimental inflammatory response.

The student will receive appropriate training in surgery, behavioural assessment and immunohistochemical techniques and develop skills related to antibody engineering, specifically how to develop antibody based therapeutics for CNS diseases. The student will benefit from academic and industrial input and gain access to a broad range of resources and facilities that will lead to better networking, presentation, negotiation and communication skills. This project will give a ‘real life’ experience of situations outside academia and create a better appreciation of the translational and commercial value of research. The international aspect of this collaboration, will add further value to this project.
For further information please contact Dr J. Teeling (, 02380 795396)

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 2011

Application Deadline: April 8th 2011

General enquiries:

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


This four-year CASE studentship is fully funded, covering University tuition fees (at UK /EU level) and provides a tax-free bursary, rising annually in line with the UK Government (Research Councils) recommended rate. An additional top-up to the stipend of £2500 per year is provided by the industrial sponsor of this project, Lundbeck. In order for the EU students to be eligible for a full studentship, they must have been a resident in the UK for at least three recent years. Other EU applicants may receive a fees only award.

Selected references:
Schenk, D., et al., Nature, 1999. 400(6740): p. 173-7.
Wilcock, D.M. and C.A. Colton,. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets, 2009. 8(1): p. 50-64.
Morgan, D., Neurochem Int, 2006. 49(2): p. 190-4.
Nimmerjahn, F. and J.V. Ravetch,. Nat Rev Immunol, 2008. 8(1): p. 34-47.

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