Funded PhD - The mechanisms of cognition in bees and flies

   School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience

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  Prof J Hodge  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This project will be part of the Bristol-Macquarie Cotutelle Programme.

It will be jointly supervised by Prof James Hodge ( at the University of Bristol, UK and Prof Andrew Barron ( at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.

The candidate will be expected to spend about equal time at each institution. The project will use the complimentary strengths of the honey bee and Drosophila systems to examine how the tiny insect brain is capable of complex cognition, sleep and consciousness (1-3). It will use a combination of neurogenetics, imaging, electrophysiology, behavioural analyses and computational modelling to probe what circuit features of the insect brain can support working memory, sleep, consciousness, classification, attention or multimodal learning. Applicants should have a background in neuroscience and ideally experience with insect systems or computational neuroscience.

More information on the programme can be found here: Bristol-Macquarie Cotutelle Programme | Bristol Doctoral College | University of Bristol

How to apply

To apply, please contact the project supervisor to express your interest in their project, forwarding your CV and a Research Statement.

The application deadline is noon Monday 1st January 2024.

We will be running informal online interviews for shortlisting 1-4th January

If shortlisted, you will be asked to apply via the University of Bristol application portal: Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience | Study at Bristol | University of Bristol . Please read the Admissions Statement, then click on "Apply Now" and select the programme "Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience (Macquarie) (PhD)". In the application, funding section, please indicate "UoB - MCQ Cotutelle".


For project-related enquiries, please contact the project supervisor.

For questions about the programme, please contact Kevin Higgins -

Biological Sciences (4) Mathematics (25) Medicine (26)

Funding Notes

The Bristol-Macquarie Cotutelle Programme is available for UK and international students, for a 4-year PhD starting in September 2024.
The studentship duration is four years, and it includes an annual stipend set at the current UKRI recommendation of £19,237.
Tuition fees and research costs are fully supported, as well as an allowance for paid sick leave and parental leave, in addition to 5 weeks of paid leave each year. Macquarie University will also cover one economy return flight for the student within each shared Dual PhD project with them.


1. Tasman, K., Rands, S.A., and Hodge, J.J.L. (2021). The Power of Drosophila melanogaster for Modeling Neonicotinoid Effects on Pollinators and Identifying Novel Mechanisms. Front Physiol 12, 659440. 10.3389/fphys.2021.659440.
2. Barron, A.B., Halina, M., and Klein, C. (2023). Transitions in cognitive evolution. Proc Biol Sci 290, 20230671. 10.1098/rspb.2023.0671.
3. Barron, A.B., and Klein, C. (2016). What insects can tell us about the origins of consciousness. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113, 4900-4908. 10.1073/pnas.1520084113.

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