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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

PhD Studentship: Understanding the mechanisms underpinning neurodegeneration in a Drosophila model of Alzheimer’s Disease [CLOSED]

Published: 10 February 2011

Supervisors: Dr Amrit Mudher and Professor Hugh Perry

There is currently no disease-modifying treatment for neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease. This is because the pathological mechanisms that underlie neurodegeneration in these diseases are not entirely clear and there is therefore an urgent need to further our understanding of these processes so that such therapies can be developed.
We have developed a Drosophila model of Alzheimer’s Disease in which we study neuronal dysfunction at the molecular, cellular and behavioural level (Mudher et al 2004, Chee et al 2005, Cowan et al 2010). We would now like to investigate how Wlds, a genetic mutation which confers protection on “dying back” of axons – so called wallerian degeneration, can affect the neuronal dysfunction associated with this model of Alzheimer’s Disease. The student will have the opportunity to utilise a combination of molecular, cellular and anatomical techniques to test this exciting hypothesis and will thus acquire expertise in a range of experimental procedures including Drosophila genetics and husbandry, imaging using both the confocal and electron microscopy, biochemistry, immunohistochemistry and proteomics. The results of this study will not only enhance our understanding of the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease, it will also enable us to better understand the process of wallerian degeneration, and how it may impact all neurodegenerative diseases.

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.

The studentship is available to candidates with the equivalent of a first class or upper second class degree in a relevant discipline.
This opportunity is open to UK nationals or EU students. It is also open to English speaking international students but since the stipend only provides the University tuition fees at the UK/EU level, the student will have to fund the difference between the home and overseas fees.

Start Date: October 2011

For further information regarding this studentship please email

Click here for Information on how to apply.

Funding Notes
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 studentship is supported by the Gerald Kerkut Charitable Trust which has a portfolio of training fellowships that explicitly supports the training of post graduate students in the Biomedical science. The trust also enables additional monies to ensure further specialist training consummate with the projects requirement for a broad and integrative training.

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