Below are examples of the types of projects that will available for students to undertake during their lab rotations and further develop into their PhD projects:
Factors controlling the death of capillary pericytes in the CNS
Supervisor: Professor David Attwell
are isolated contractile cells that regulate brain blood flow (Peppiatt et al.,
2006). We have shown that they constrict capillaries and then die rapidly in
brain ischaemia (stroke). This will contribute to the long lasting decrease of
cerebral blood flow that contributes to neuronal death after stroke. The
student will study pericyte death in brain slices and in vivo, with a view to devising approaches to prevent it. more...
Interplay between astrocytes, microglia and neuronal signalling in Alzheimer's disease
Supervisor: Professor Michael Duchen
Project outline: The deposition of amyloid beta peptide (Aß) in the CNS is a major feature of Alzheimer’s Disease. As Aß peptides are toxic to neuronal cultures, we have been exploring of the underlying cellular processes that lead to toxicity. We have shown that Aß raises calcium and causes mitochondrial dysfunction in glial cells and not neurons, and yet causes neuronal cell death. more...
Eisai research projects
Eisai is a pharmaceutical
company with major commitment to the discovery of new therapeutics for
neurodegenerative disorders. To achieve that aim, we need to understand
pathogenic mechanisms in man, and to assess these for their potential to be
modulated by small molecules or biological agents with appropriate benefit for
the patient. New genetic findings and pathophysiological processes in
neurodegeneration represent a good and exciting starting point in the
consideration of novel targets. more...
Using fission yeast to reveal the fundamental disease mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease and provide a novel approach to developing new therapies
Supervisor: Dr Sara Mole
Project outline: The Mole lab has pioneered the use of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe as a simple and genetically tractable model organism ideal for studying the fundamental biology of neurodegenerative disease caused by mutations in conserved genes. To date the focus has been on the most common neurodegenerative disease of children – juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL) caused by a common intragenic deletion in the gene CLN3. more...
mRNA transport and local translation in axons of developing neurons
Supervisor: Dr Antonella Riccio
Project outline: The goal of this project is to understand how mRNAs that are transported and locally translated in axons contribute to the maintenance of axon integrity, thereby preventing axon degeneration and facilitating re-growth after nerve lesion. We recently performed a comprehensive screen of transcripts that are localized in axons of peripheral neurons and identified specific sequences within the 3’UTRs that are necessary for mRNA transport in axons. more...
Inhibition and cognitive decline during Down’s syndrome
Supervisor: Professor Trevor Smart
Project outline: Increasingly,
several lines of evidence link dysfunctional GABAergic neurotransmission to the
pathophysiology associated with Down’s syndrone (DS). This applies to both
GABA-A and GABA-B receptors and associated effector systems, increasing the
efficacy of inhibition which impacts on cognition. The aim of this project is
to investigate the mechanisms by which dysfunctional GABA neurotransmission
causes the DS phenotype and to attempt eventually, to identify novel
pharmacotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of DS based on GABA receptor
Neuro-plasticity in Huntington’s Disease: Improving function in Huntington’s disease using real-time fMRI based neurofeedback training
Supervisor: Professor Sarah Tabrizi
Project outline: Background: Huntington’s disease (HD) is a genetic, neurodegenerative condition that leads to extensive brain atrophy, starting from the striatum and the surrounding white matter and gradually spreading throughout the cortex. Clinically it is characterized by progressive motor impairment, e.g. chorea, cognitive decline and neuropsychiatric symptoms. There is no known disease-modifying intervention in HD at present. Prescribed treatments are for symptom management and most of the treatments available, e.g. neuroleptics, can have significant side-effects for the patient, e.g. sedation, parkinsonism and gastrointestinal problems. more...
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