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Apolipoprotein E-targeted stem cell gene therapy for people with Alzheimer’s disease

   Bristol Medical School

  , Dr Kevin Kemp,  Sunday, June 26, 2022  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Perros Trust-supported 1 Year Full MSc R Scholarship for students of Black or Mixed Black Heritage backgrounds

Project Description

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common progressive neurological disease, of advancing age, is a major increasing global health challenge, and yet has no long-term effective treatments. Polymorphism in the APOE gene, giving rise to the E4 isoform of apolipoprotein E (ApoE4), is recognised as the most significant genetic risk factor for developing AD1, and is strongly related to both increased Aβ levels and neuroinflammation in the brain2. While carriers of APOE4 are more likely to develop AD, APOE23  offers protection against the disease. Gene therapies that might be able to lessen the impact of APOE variation in contributing to AD, provide an opportunity to address an ongoing urgent and major unmet clinical need.

Haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) gene therapy approaches, involving genetic modification of transplanted HSCs, have been shown to prevent disease progression in patients with genetic diseases affecting the CNS and immune system. Using viral vectors, we will seek to develop a gene therapy to alter the APOE genotype of the AD protective microglia-like cell population in the brain2


The Perros Trust MSc Scholar will be based within Bristol Medical Schools, Department of Translational Health Sciences (THS) and will likely work across locations at the Dorothy Hodgkin Building, in the Centre of Bristol, and at the Learning & Research Building, at Southmead Hospital, Bristol. 

Application Process

Candidates who wish to apply for this opportunity should first complete the online application here under the Translational Health MSc R programme and in the funding source details further down list please state Perros Trust. Applicants are also required to provide a Personal Statement. Selection for a scholarship award is based on academic excellence and potential but it would also be helpful for applicants to include details of their research career interests and aspirations.

Applicant eligibility requirements

Applicants must:

  1. Have submitted an application for entry to our THS Masters-level MSc R programme (provide above) on or before 6th June 2022; and
  2. Be a UK National with Home Fee status who self-identifies as having a Black, African, Black British, Caribbean background, or a mixed background featuring one of these groups
  3. Demonstrate, through their Personal Statement, an interest and aptitude to pursue a research-related career
  4. Primary degree in a related Neuroscience, Cellular or other Biomedical Science related topic

 MSc R Supervisors for informal queries:

Prof Pat Kehoe (); Dr Kevin Kemp (); Prof James Uney ( ).

Funding Notes

This 1 year Perros Trust MSc by Research (MSc R) Scholarship includes full support for tuition fees at the 2022/23 UK/Home rate, a stipend of £16,062 (at current MRC PhD studentship rates), an allocation for bench consumable fees and some funds for the dissemination of any publishable/reportable findings. This is a 1 year research project and is a great option if you are considering doing a research PhD in the future.

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