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Fully Funded Studentship- Developing novel viral vectors to facilitate gene therapies for neuropathic pain

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, February 10, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

A PhD studentship is available in the Spinal Cord Group (SCG) at the University of Glasgow, researching the mammalian somatosensory nervous system.

The aim of the project is to generate novel viral vectors capable of targeting discreet populations of sensory neurons. This will have research and translational applications, which will both be explored during the PhD.

Project Background
Sensory neurons detect touch, temperature, pain and itch, all of which are vital for us being able to make sense of the world around us. Following damage to these neurons, such as is caused by diabetes or chemotherapy, maladaptive changes occur which can result in neuropathic pain.

This form of pathological pain affects roughly five million adults in the UK, the majority of whom live with chronic and often debilitating pain because current medications are ineffective. Gene therapies delivered by viral vectors are an exciting new translational approach with potential to treat neuropathic pain.

However, common to all approaches being trialled is a need to deliver therapeutic transgenes solely to sensory neurons and in some cases, to particular classes of sensory neurons.

This project will seek to generate novel viral vectors capable of performing such a task. The work will provide insights to basic sensory biology and will further the translational promise of gene therapies to treat neuropathic pain.

The project will offer varied training in molecular neuroscience, including:
• Cell culture of induced pluripotent stem cells and primary neurons
• Molecular biology techniques such as PCR, qPCR and DNA vector manipulation.
• Anatomical studies using fluorescence and confocal microscopy.

The research team also runs projects involving patch clamp electrophysiology, in vivo models and chemogenetic manipulation of neuronal activity, which the student will have the chance to contribute to.

The student will be part of a newly established research team within the SCG and the wider Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology. The SCG is composed of a vibrant group of research teams, with an international reputation of excellence for studies on the neuronal organisation of pain pathways. Students will have the opportunity to join other group members at international neuroscience meetings to present their work.

• A strong ability to solve challenges and willingness to learn new techniques and work across disciplines.
• Demonstrable self-motivation and independent initiative.
• Excellent team working and communication skills (oral and written).
• Some laboratory experience and basic skills in molecular biology techniques and/or some familiarity working with cell lines would be advantageous.



1. Prospective applicants can send a CV and covering letter to Dr Greg Weir (), describing briefly what interests them about this specific project, and detailing how they meet the above criteria. Informal inquiries are also welcomed at the same address.


2. Click the ’VISIT WEBSITE’ button if you want to go ahead and apply now. You will be taken through to our Online Application Portal.

Funding Notes

Applicants must have a 2:1 or 1st Class Honours degree or equivalent in an appropriate technical discipline, or the expectation of obtaining this by the start of the project.

Suitable candidates may come from a diverse range of backgrounds including physics, chemistry, engineering or biology, but a commitment to learning new skills is essential. The studentship provided will cover all fees and a stipend of £15,433 per annum for three and a half years.

How good is research at University of Glasgow in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.20

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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