Pre-clinical targets for vascular dementia treatment

Project Title: Pre-clinical targets for vascular dementia treatment

  • ? Reference Number: 19-20-006
  • ? Start date: Jan 2020
  • ? MPhil/PhD Studentship available full time and part-time

For further information regarding the project, please contact Professor Robert Fern

Project Description

The University of Plymouth’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry is seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate with outstanding abilities. Medical research in the Faculty was ranked first for outputs in REF2014.

White matter makes up about half of the human brain, but we know little about the role of white matter in disease. White matter changes occur early in a number of important neurological disorders and this studentship will focus on a particularly clear example, vascular dementia. Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia and arises primarily from ischemic-type injury to white matter. Our laboratory has shown the important role that glutamate receptors have in white matter injury and the successful candidate will use ectrophysiological, myelin imaging and electron microscopy techniques to describe the functional and structural effects of focal WM injury in a novel in vitro model, and the protective effect of potential clinical interventions based on glutamate receptor antagonists. The most successful strategy will subsequently be tested in an in vivo model of dementia. The student will gain expert technical knowledge in electrophysiology, live cell imaging and electron microscopy, attaining a range of skills suitable for a career in dementia research.

For greater technical detail of the approaches to be used please see:

1. Doyle, S. Hansen, D. Vella, J. Bond, P. Harper, G. Valentino, M. Fern, R. (2018) Vesicular glutamate release from central axons contributes to myelin damage. Nature communications, 9:1032: 1-15.

2. Jackson, J. Bianco, G. O Rosa, A. Cowan, K. Bond, P. Anichtchik, O and Fern, R. (2018) White matter tauopathy: transient functional loss and novel myelin remodeling. Glia, 66: 813-827.

Funding Notes

The studentship is supported for 3 years and includes full Home/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend of an estimated £15,009 per annum (based on 19/20 stipend amounts). Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the Home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates (£12,285 for the 19/20 academic year). If you are selected you will be required to provide financial assurances.

To Apply 

Follow the link and click ‘Apply’. Please mark the application for the attention of Amber Strong. 

Please Note: You do not need to submit a project proposal with your application. If you have any questions on the admissions process contact  

The closing date for applications is 12 midnight on 06/10/2019. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by 01/11/2019 should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.