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BBSRC White Rose DTP Studentship - In vivo investigation of spontaneous activity in the prehearing mammalian auditory system

   School of Biosciences

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  Prof Walter Marcotti, Dr Federico Ceriani  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Sound is detected by extremely sensitive sensory cells, called hair cells, located in the inner ear. Hair cells transduce acoustic information (e.g. frequency and intensity) and convert them into electrical signals that are sent to the brain via auditory nerve fibres. This allows us to communicate and enjoy music.

Our current knowledge of how hair cells in the cochlea operate derive from ex vivo experiments, since in vivo measurements with subcellular resolution from the intact mammalian cochlea have long been considered unfeasible. This has created a substantial barrier towards our understanding of how the cochlea develop and function, since ex vivo work cannot replicate its sophisticated anatomy, innervation and physiology.

The aim of this PhD project is to understand the mechanisms that modulate and pattern the spontaneous firing activity in the developing mammalian cochlea in vivo, and how these influence central auditory refinement. This proposal will require the student to perform state-of-the-art techniques that are well established in the lab, including in vivo 2-photon functional imaging and in vivo AAV-gene delivery, applied to transgenic mice. These experimental approaches, combined with large data analysis (MATLAB and/or Python), will allow the student to investigate functional changes in the developing cochlea by monitoring the activity of individual cells and synapses.

The BBSRC WR DTP and the University of Sheffield are committed to recruiting future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and we have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills.

Note: Relocation costs for international students to the UK (visa, insurance, NHS fees, flights, etc) will be the responsibility of the student 

 Entry Requirements: Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this programme means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any biological, chemical, and/or physical science, or students with mathematical backgrounds who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological questions. 

 Click to apply

Programme: PhD in Mechanistic Biology (4 years)

Start Date: 1st October 2023

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed mid February 2023

Funding Notes

This project is part of the BBSRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology. Appointed candidates will be fully-funded for 4 years. The funding includes:
• Tax-free annual UKRI stipend (£17,668 for 2022 starts)
• UK tuition fees (£4,596 for 2022)
• Research support and training grant (RSTG)
We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK and are able to offer a limited number of bursaries that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme

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