How do neural stem cells acquire and maintain their fate?

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

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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 doctoralcollege@plymouth.ac.uk.

Director of Studies: Dr. Torsten Bossing
2nd Supervisor: Dr. Claudia Barros 
3rd Supervisor: Dr. Isabel Martinez Garay martinezgarayi@cardiff.ac.uk


Neural stem cells give rise to neurons and glia not only during embryonic development to form the brain but also during adult hood to lay down memories or replace lost neurons. To harvest the potential of neural stem cells towards new therapies against brain disease such as upon neurodegeneration or following brain injury, we need to gain a better understanding of the genes which control their fate. We harvested single neural stem cell types from living brains of the fruit fly Drosophila model at two developmental time points and mapped their transcriptome. The data shows that 70% of all identified transcripts are conserved in mammals including humans, and interestingly are also expressed in known neural stem cell niches of the mouse brain. This suggests common aspects in fate acquisition and maintenance of neural stem cells in Drosophila and mammals. The selected PhD candidate will study the role of identified novel genes in controlling neural stem fate, division, and the determination of neuronal progeny in the brain. The project is based in the laboratories of Dr. T. Bossing (Director of Studies) and Dr C. Barros at the Peninsula Medical School of the University of Plymouth and in collaboration with Dr. I. Garay at the University of Cardiff. Work will predominantly make use of the Drosophila brain and expression and function of most interesting candidates may also be studied in the mouse brain model.

Eligibility

Applicants must have a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant Masters qualification. International students must have a IELTS score of 6.5 or above (with no less than 5.5 in any element). Experience in genetics, molecular biology and/or cellular biology is desired. A high interest in neurobiology is a must.

The studentship is supported for 3 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 torsten.bossing@plymouth.ac.uk.

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

For more information on the admissions process generally, contact doctoralcollege@plymouth.ac.uk.

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 31st July 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview 15th July 2021. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received a response within six weeks of the closing date should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.