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  Charting new neuronal survival pathways in Parkinson’s disease

   Department of Biochemistry

  ,  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The Neurodegenerative and Lysosomal Disease Laboratory is interested in uncovering the unknown molecular and cellular mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, particularly in the development of Parkinson’s disease and Batten disease. We have several projects available for prospective PhD students starting in 2024/25.

In this project, we aim to rescue the vulnerable dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson’s disease. Using iPSC-derived neurons, astrocytes and organoids, and CRISPR technologies, we have generated genetic forms of Parkinson's disease (ATP13A2 and LRRK2). Applying high-throughput assays, molecular biology techniques, immunocytochemistry, confocal microscopy, and multi-omic analyses, we aim to test the following:

  1. How do cortical neurons survive Parkinson’s disease, but dopaminergic neurons don’t?
  2. How do different mutations in ATP13A2 cause Parkinson’s disease or Batten disease?
  3. How lncRNAs regulate neuronal health and function in Parkinson’s disease?

The ideal PhD candidates will have a strong interest in neurodegenerative diseases, a background in cell and molecular biology, excellent communication and teamwork abilities, and a drive to succeed. You will already have either a BSc(Hons) or MSc in neuroscience, genetics, biochemistry, molecular or cell biology. We encourage prospective students to apply for the Otago PhD scholarships.

For further information, please refer to the following web pages:

Lead PI: Dr Indranil Basak () -

Co-PI: Professor Stephanie Hughes () –

Biological Sciences (4)

Register your interest for this project

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