PhD studentship available full-timeProject title: The vulnerability of white matter to induction of a human tau mutation associated with dementia
Reference number: PUPSMD-17-18-008
Start date: 1 October 2018
Director of Studies: Professor Robert Fern
2nd Supervisor: Dr Edgar Kramer
Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry are seeking to attract PhD candidates of outstanding ability to join their exciting and rapidly expanding programme of internationally-rated research. PUPSMD are committed to research excellence with a recent £25 million investment in staff and facilities. Medical research here was ranked first for outputs in REF2014.
Applications are invited from suitably qualified graduates, 2:1 or above. International students must have an IELTS score of 7.0 or above (with no less than 6.5 in any element).
An essential step in many forms of dementia is the hyper-phosphorylation of a protein called tau. Until recently, the sequence of events that follow the onset of 'tauopathy' has been mapped out in the synapses and neuronal cell bodies of the brain. Brain imaging studies now show that some of the earliest changes in the demented brain occur in the white matter. In humans over 50 per cent of our brain is taken up by white matter, which houses the axons responsible for making connections within the brain and between the brain and the body. We have recently shown that induction of tauopathy in a genetic model produces very rapid pathological changes in white matter. This studentship will explore the underlying mechanism of these changes, which result in a novel phenotype that may underlie progression of the disease. Techniques will include electron microscopy, electrophysiology and cell imaging; full training will be provided.
The lab is mid-sized (4-8 members), in the heart of a region of outstanding natural beauty. All PhD students who have passed through the lab have published at least one full, primary author paper. A recent example is Doyle et al., ('Vesicular glutamate release from central axons triggers myelin damage that is responsive to receptor sub-unit selective therapy.' Nature Communications, in press).
For further information, please contact Professor Robert Fern. However, applications must be made in accordance with the details shown below.