Axonal Transport of Mitochondria as a therapeutic Target in ALS

   School of Medicine and Population Health

  ,  Wednesday, June 26, 2024  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Project description:

Investigating axonal transport of mitochondria as a therapeutic target in Neurodegeneration

Applications are being invited for a 3.5-year Basic Science PhD Studentship, starting in October 2024.

The successful candidate will join an established training programme at the Sheffield Institute for Translational neuroscience (SITraN) in the laboratories of Prof Kurt De Vos ( and Dr Andrew Grierson (

Axonal transport is responsible for the correct spatiotemporal distribution of cargoes in axons and maintains the long-distance communication between the cell body and synaptic terminals that allows neurons to react to their environmental inputs.

It is now recognised that defective axonal transport is an early pathogenic event that precedes synaptic dysfunction in many human neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Furthermore, human disease mutations in axonal transport genes unequivocally show that defective axonal transport is causal to clinically diverse neurodegenerative diseases.

The overarching hypothesis of this project is that the diverse causes of neurodegenerative diseases converge on shared axonal transport pathways to cause defective axonal transport and as a consequence loss of synaptic function.

This project builds on our previous research into the role of defective axonal transport of mitochondria in neurodegeneration (1–4) and aims to further our insight into the pathogenic pathways underlying mitochondrial transport defects in ALS, AD, and PD.


The Faculty of Health is offering a number of scholarships for the academic year 2024/5 for eligible students. This project is being considered for the Faculty, PGT>PGR and Underrepresented Student scholarship schemes. You do not need to apply more than once as your application will automatically be considered for all scholarships based on your eligibility criteria. Please see below for any additional requirements. 

Students worldwide are welcome to apply but will need to fund the overseas fee difference of around £24,000 per year but will not be eligible for the Underrepresented Student scheme.


We are accepting applications from current and past (who have graduated in 2022 & 2023) PGT students from the Faculty of Health.

Underrepresented Student

We are accepting applications for the University of Sheffield Research Scholarships for Black or Black British (of African or Caribbean heritage), Asian or Asian British (of Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian heritage) or multiple ethnic background including one of the ethnicity groups listed above.  

The University of Sheffield is committed to increasing opportunities in doctoral research for particular minoritised students who are currently under-represented in our postgraduate research student population.

Candidates will be required to complete a declaration form and upload it to their application. Applicants with overseas fee status are NOT eligible for these awards.

How to apply:

Please complete a University Postgraduate Research Application form available here: Candidates applying for the BAME scheme will be required to complete a declaration form and upload it to their application.

Please clearly state the prospective main supervisor in the respective box and select ‘School of Medicine and Population Health: Neuroscience’ as the department.

Proposed start date:

October 2024

Entry Requirements:

Candidates must have a first or upper second class honours degree or significant research experience. 

Biological Sciences (4) Medicine (26)

Funding Notes

The scholarships cover tuition fees and a tax-free stipend at the UKRI rate (£19,237 for students starting in October 2024), as well as a training and development allowance.


1. K. J. De Vos, M. Hafezparast, Neurobiol Dis 105, 283 (2017).
2. A. Moller, et al., Hum Mol Genet 26, 4668 (2017).
3. G. M. Mórotz et al., Hum Mol Genet 21, 1979 (2012).
4. K. J. De Vos et al., Hum Mol Genet 16, 2720 (2007).

Register your interest for this project

Where will I study?

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