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Elucidating the molecular pathways through which an unhealthy diet contributes to sight loss.


   Faculty of Medicine

  Dr J Arjuna Ratnayaka  Friday, August 19, 2022  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Lead Institute / Faculty: Clinical and Experimental Sciences/Medicine

Main Supervisor: Dr J. Arjuna Ratnayaka

Other members of the supervisory team: Professor Andrew J. Lotery and Dr Helena Lee

Amount of stipend and fees: The first year at £16,062.00 increasing each year for three years at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) rates. Due to funding restrictions this position is only open to UK applicants.

Duration of the award:  Full-time for three years from 1st October 2022 until 30th September 2025

Project description: Applications are invited for an exciting new PhD studentship funded by Sight Research UK. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a complex blinding disease, where a combination of genetic and non-genetic risk factors, such as an unhealthy diet, results in the irreversible loss of central vision. The project builds on our published work to elucidate the molecular pathways of damage to the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and associated tissues in the outer retina. The student will use a combination of in-vitro cell as well as mouse models and must be willing to work with mice. Techniques such as cell and molecular biology, histology, biochemistry as well as imaging will be used for the project. Non-invasive retinal scans will also be obtained from living mice. Potential discoveries could provide new information on diet-induced disease pathways in the retina that predisposes individuals to AMD, and whether such effects could be reversed through better nutrition. This knowledge could also inform public health campaigns, thereby help reduce the burden of sight-impairment and blindness in the UK. The successful applicant will join a dynamic research team consisting of undergraduate/postgraduate research students and postdocs. The candidate is expected to be highly motivated with an excellent work ethic.

Please contact: Dr J. Arjuna Ratnayaka ()  

Person Specification: See here

The successful candidate is likely to have the following qualifications:

  • A 1stor 2:1 degree in a relevant discipline and/or second degree with a related Masters
  • A willingness to work with mice (suitable training and monitoring will be provided)

Administrative contact and how to apply:

Please complete the University's online application form, which you can find at

https://studentrecords.soton.ac.uk/BNNRPROD/bzsksrch.P_Login?pos=7201&majr=7201&term=202223

You should enter Dr J. Arjuna Ratnayaka as your proposed supervisor. To support your application provide an academic CV (including contact details of two referees), official academic transcripts and a personal statement (outlining your suitability for the studentship, what you hope to achieve from the PhD and your research experience to date).

Informal enquiries relating to the project or candidate suitability should be directed to Dr J. Arjuna Ratnayaka ().

Closing date: 19th of August 2022

Interview date: Tuesday 13th of September 2022  


Funding Notes

Fees and stipend for UK applicants for the duration of the project (36 months). The project is available on a full-time basis only. Non-UK students need not apply.

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