China Scholarship Council: The molecular and cellular biology of dementia and motor neuron disease

   School of Life Sciences

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  Dr L McGurk, Dr Adrien Rousseau  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Protein aggregation is central to dementia and motor neuron disease. Understanding how proteins become aggregated in disease will help us to better understand potential causes and may lead to new treatments. A key example protein is TDP-43, which causes disease when it leaves the nucleus to form cytoplasmic aggregates in affected brain regions of several dementias, including 45% of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), ~57% of Alzheimer’s disease and >95% of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The McGurk lab has a long-standing interest in defining mechanisms that underlie TDP-43-induced disease. We have discovered that enzymes that generate polyADP-ribose – which are negatively charged polymers that resemble RNA- are important for propagating TDP-43 accumulation in the cytoplasm and disease toxicity. We aim to define how the polyADP-ribose polymerases function in neurons so that we better understand how disease happens and potentially reveal new avenues of therapeutic research. To do this, our lab uses Drosophila genetics, biochemical assays, neuronal cell culture systems and human neuropathology as this enables us to watch disease happen over the lifetime of the animal, understand molecular function, and translate our findings to people diagnosed with dementia and motor neuron disease. 

The student that joins our research team will develop their own research project on the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases in this area, giving them the expertise needed for a future career in research.  

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 -

Where will I study?

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