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Autophagy and neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Autophagy is an essential catabolic process that protects cells against diverse stresses. Autophagy prevents many human diseases including neurodegeneration, so a complete understanding of this process is needed. In our lab we study the molecular control of autophagy in human neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. We use human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to make neurons and glia to study how autophagy influences communications between these cells and to identify novel pathway to control autophagy in these crucial cells. This project will focus on the regulation of autophagy in human glia and how this affects their inflammatory signalling in Parkinson’s.

The studentship will provide state-of-the-art training in the key methodologies, including iPSC culture and differentiation, cytokine signalling and advanced cell imaging. The project has direct relevance to Parkinson’s disease, but will also further our mechanistic understanding of the general roles that autophagy play in inflammation in the brain.

The student will join a dynamic, international research group based in the School of Biochemistry. The University is a centre for cell biology research in health and disease, and the student will benefit from exposure to diverse research topics in this area. Bristol is an exciting and culturally diverse city, with excellent transport links to cities across the UK and Europe.


Jiménez-Moreno, N, Stathakos, P, Antón, Z, Shoemark, DK, Sessions, RB, Witzgall, R, Caldwell, M, Lane, JD (2019) LIR-dependent LMX1A/LMX1B autophagy crosstalk shapes human midbrain dopaminergic neuronal resilience bioRxiv

Hawkins SJ, Crompton LA, Sood A, Saunders M, Boyle N, Buckley A, Minogue AM, McComish S, Jiménez-Moreno N, Cordero-Llana O, Stathakos P, Kelly S, Lane JD, Case CP & Caldwell MA (2018) Nanoparticle induced neuronal toxicity across placental barriers is mediated by autophagy and dependent on astrocytes. Nature Nanotechnology 13: 427–433

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