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Fully Funded MSc by Research in Cardiovascular and Diabetes Medicine: Identification of a new brain to heart circuit controlling cardiac function

   School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition

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  Prof L Heisler, Dr C Murdoch  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The North-East Scotland (NES) Diabetes and Cardiovascular Research Alliance Masters Training Programme (MTP) in cardiovascular and diabetes medicine is an exciting new MTP that will expand interdisciplinary cardiovascular and diabetes research between the University of Aberdeen and the University of Dundee.

Identification of a new brain to heart circuit controlling cardiac function

 Prof Lora Heisler, Chair in Human Nutrition, Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen

 Dr Colin Murdoch, Senior Lecturer, University of Dundee

  • Cardiac hypertrophy is associated with long term risk of heart failure. This project investigates whether a specific brain chemical called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) sends a cascade of commands to control cardiac function.
  • The project takes advantage of experienced supervisors at the Universities of Aberdeen and Dundee who are experts in brain and cardiac function.
  • Students will be trained in state of the art technology to pursue this research with the ultimate aim of identifying new targets for future treatment development.
  • For further information on the project particulars, please contact the primary supervisor via the enquire now function below.

This opportunity to achieve an MSc by Research as part of this flagship collaborative programme between the two universities. Based either in Aberdeen or Dundee but with cross-institutional training opportunities, students will be embedded in vibrant multidisciplinary research teams with a mix of cardiovascular/diabetes clinicians and scientists. Excellent research training opportunities are provided, including MTP specific training events, and more general training and educational activities in the universities, highlighted for example by the newly established Doctoral Academy in Dundee.


Applicants must possess or be expected to possess by the time of starting the MSc, at least one of the following:

  • First class, or upper second-class honours degree in a relevant scientific discipline, or equivalent
  • Postgraduate Masters degree in a relevant scientific discipline, or equivalent


Full application instructions and further information can be found here

Funding Notes

The start date for successful candidates will be February 2022. Funding and project duration is 1 year.
Full UK tuition fee covered. Stipend at UKRI rate (£15,609 p.a.)
International candidates can apply for this studentship but will have to find additional funding to cover the difference between overseas and home fees.
This opportunity is funded by the North-East Scotland Diabetes and Cardiovascular Research Alliance.
For full funding information please visit:


• Jiang et al, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor rs6265 (Val66Met) Polymorphism Is Associated with Disease
Severity and Incidence of Cardiovascular Events in a Patient Cohort, American Heart Journal, 2017, 190:40-
• Shibata et al, Increased Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Nucleus Tractus Solitarius by Activation of
Cardiac Sympathetic Afferent Nerves is Involved in Sympathoexcitation in Pressure Overload-Induced
Cardiac. Circulation. 2018, 138:A12510 Abstract 12510.
•Feng et al., BDNF actions int eh cardiovascular system: Roles in Devlopment, Adulthood and Response to
Injury. Frontiers in Physiology, 2019, 10:455(1-8).