Acute inflammation as a cause of brain injury

Applications are invited for a funded three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1st October 2021.


To apply please use the online application form. Simply search for PhD Medical Studies, then clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship and name the project at the top of your personal statement.

Online application

Before applying, please ensure you have read the Doctoral College’s general information on applying for a research degree.

For more information on the admissions process please contact

Director of Studies: Robert Fern

2nd Supervisor: Vehid Saleh

The link between infection and an elevated risk for ischemic brain injury is well-proven, but nothing is currently known about the mechanism producing this clinically important effect which has a major impact upon public health. This studentship will test one hypothesis which the preliminary data suggests has promise. Infection releases inflammatory mediators into the circulation which have access to the extracellular space of the brain, and may reduce neuronal tolerance of ischemia and hypoperfusion. This project will test this hypothesis directly, using an array of established functional and structural assays of neurological injury and a standard model of acute ischemia. The cellular pathways linking inflammatory mediators and brain injury will be probed. Training will be provided in a number of approaches e.g., electrophysiology, cell imagine, confocal imaging, immuno-staining, transgenic models and electron microscopy; depending upon results. Candidates are urged to look at past papers from the laboratory, for examples of the kind of experiments required - example.

Please do not hesitate to contact the supervisor (Robert Fern) if you have any questions.


Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant Masters qualification.

The studentship is supported for three years and includes full Home tuition fees plus a stipend of £15,609 per annum (2021/22 rate). The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover International fees will have to cover the difference between the Home and the International tuition fee rates (approximately £12,697 per annum).

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Professor Robert Fern. However, applications must be made online in accordance with the instructions provided.

Please refer to the list of supporting documents to upload with your application.

For more information on the admissions process generally, contact

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 2nd July 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview around mid-July. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by the end of August 2021 should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.