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Endoplasmic Reticulum Transport and Morphoregulation in Neuron (Patho) Physiology

Department of Clinical Neurosciences

Thursday, December 03, 2020 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) is a multifunctional organelle, shaped as a contiguous network of membranous pipes extending throughout the cell periphery. Its morphology benefits intercellular communication, allowing controlled distribution of ER luminal solutes (e.g. Ca2+ in muscular/neuronal signalling) and membrane-bound components to distant sites and adjoining organelles. Mounting data points to a critical role of ER morphology regulation in neuronal functioning. This is prominently exemplified by the direct association of ER morphogens (aka ER shaping proteins) with neuropathologies such as Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia and dementia-related diseases. We seek understanding of how ER’s network integrity, morphological regulation and luminal transport support neuronal cell functioning, with a view to identifying new intervention targets for prevention of neurodegenerative avalanche. The projects on this theme involve editing of candidate genes in cells with potential to differentiate to neurons/glia, and analysing the consequences of the targeted mutagenesis on structure/function of neuronal ER using live cell microscopy techniques such as super-resolution imaging and single-particle tracking and neuronal activity analyses e.g. calcium imaging (carried out in collaboration with optics physicists and computer scientists). Focused projects exploring benefits of modulation (e.g. induced degradation) of candidate ER-morphogens for neuronal health and axonal regeneration are also available.

Funding Notes

Funding deadline is 3rd December 2020 for start in October 2021. When applying indicate on the application the funding options (GATES USA *deadline 14/10/20*, Gates Cambridge or other Cambridge Funders). Home/EU and International applications are all considered for funding.


Applicants can only be considered if they apply via the applicant portal which can be found at this link; please do not send in an enquiry and CV as this will not be considered an application.

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