China Scholarship Council: Climate change and sensory development in animals

   School of Life Sciences

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  Dr Varsha Singh, Prof K G Storey  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Earth has experienced 0.8°C increase in average temperature since 1950 and 2C since 1880 [1,2]. Human beings are exposed to this suboptimal temperature chronically for many months at a stretch. How does Increase temperature affect organ development in children and young animals? We plan to study the effect of increased rearing temperature on nervous system development in Caenorhabditis elegans. 

C. elegans is a genetically tractable model organism with a well-studied nervous system. The worms can be reared at temperatures ranging from 11°C to 26°C [3]. We will study the effect of increased temperature beyond permissible for varying duration and study their effect on worms' perception of (i) smell, (ii) taste and (iii) touch [4]. We will also study the effect of increased temperature on a subset of sensory neurons responsible for olfaction, taste perception and mechano sensation by studying their morphology and calcium response. Combinations of genetics, behaviour analysis, microscopy and neuroscience techniques will be used in the course of this project. 

The results from the study will Inform how temperature affect sensory component of the nervous system and subsequent effects on organismal cognition and survival. This may be instrumental in understanding the effect of climate change on other animals including human beings.  

Biological Sciences (4)

Funding Notes

In order to be eligible for these awards applicants must:
Be a Chinese national
Meet the requirements of the CSC – please see their website
Hold an unconditional offer to study for a PhD at the University of Dundee and meet our English language requirements
Have completed a bachelors or masters degree before the agreed start of PhD study.
Already have an IELTS score of 6.5 at time of applying
For further information on the CSC programme please visit and apply by completing our application form -


3. Altun, Z.F. and Hall, D.H. 2009. Introduction. In WormAtlas. doi:10.3908/wormatlas.1.1
4. Bargmann, C.I. Chemosensation in C. Elegans. WormBook, ed. The C. elegans Research Community, WormBook, doi/10.1895/wormbook.1.123.1,

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