For further information regarding the project, please contact Professor Robert Fern
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. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-03427-1
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. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/glia.23286