Generating a disease model for Alzheimer's Disease in non-human primates

   Biological Sciences

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  Dr Chunmei Yue, Dr M Wang, Dr M Stagi  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Our lab is interested in understanding and treating a devastating neurodegenerative disorder, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), in particular aspects relating to develop appropriate disease models for AD. Previously, we developed patient iPSC-based cellular models and confirmed that the key AD pathological features could be reproduced in the dish, even more, the target gene holding therapeutic potential could be probed in the patient iPSC-derived live AD neurons. Besides establishing cellular models for AD, we specifically have a long-standing interest in modeling AD in big animals. Recently, we bilaterally delivered synthetic Aβ oligomers (AβOs) into the cerebral parenchyma of cynomolgus monkeys, which rapidly drove the cascade of pathologic events associated with AD in monkeys as occurred in patients at the early phase, including the formation of massive Aβ plaques, concomitant neurofibrillary tangles, extensive neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration. The co-occurrence of Aβ plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in AβO-monkeys are reminiscent of those in the brain of AD patients, which are hardly detected in the well-established AD animal models, such as AD mouse. Collectively, all these efforts should facilitate the development of a promising animal model for human AD and advance our understanding of AD, which would finally help to develop novel therapeutic strategies for the treatments of AD.

This project specifically aims to optimize the AβO-based approach for driving more symptoms associated with AD in monkey as well as to establish behavioral platform for comprehensively evaluating the cognitive abilities of monkeys. The outcome might pave the way for generating an appropriate AD monkey that authentically acquire both neuropathologic features and cognitive deficits of AD patients. This is a multifaceted and challenging basic research project that entails a large range of state-of-the-art biochemical, molecular biological, animal handling and training, immunostaining, microscopy, and other approaches. Therefore, we are looking for an eager, enthusiastic and skilled individual with an MRes background and experience in neuroscience, molecular biology and microscopy florescence imaging. This project will be supervised primarily by: Dr. Chunmei Yue (XJTLU) and Co-supervisors: Dr. Mingyan Wang (XJTLU), Dr. Massimiliano Stagi (UoL).

For more information about doctoral scholarship and PhD programme at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU): Please visit


  1. The candidate should have a first class or upper second class honours degree, or a master’s degree (or equivalent qualification), in neuroscience, molecular biology, biochemistry or a life-science related discipline.
  2. Evidence of good spoken and written English is essential. The candidate should have an IELTS score of 6.5 or above, if the first language is not English. This position is open to all qualified candidates irrespective of nationality.


The student will be awarded a PhD degree from the University of Liverpool (UK) upon successful completion of the program.

How to Apply:

Interested applicants are advised to email [Email Address Removed] (XJTLU principal supervisor’s email address) the following documents for initial review and assessment (please put the project title in the subject line).

  • CV
  • Two reference letters with company/university letterhead
  • Personal statement outlining your interest in the position
  • Proof of English language proficiency (an IELTS score of 6.5 or above)
  • Verified school transcripts in both Chinese and English (for international students, only the English version is required)
  • Verified certificates of education qualifications in both Chinese and English (for international students, only the English version is required) 
  • PDF copy of Master Degree dissertation (or an equivalent writing sample) and examiners reports available

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr. Chunmei Yue (chunmei.yue, whose personal profile is linked below,

Biological Sciences (4)

Funding Notes

The PhD studentship is available for three years subject to satisfactory progress by the student. The award covers tuition fees for three years (currently equivalent to RMB 80,000 per annum) and provides a monthly stipend of 5,000 RMB as a contribution to living expenses. It also provides up to RMB 16,500 to allow participation at international conferences during the period of the award. It is a condition of the award that holders of XJTLU PhD scholarships carry out 300-500 hours of teaching assistance work per year.


Selected relevant literatures:
Feng Yue, Chunling Lu, Su Feng, Ting Zhang, Guoxian Tao, Chunmei Yue*and Naihe Jing*. Synthetic amyloid-b oligomers drive early pathological progression of Alzheimer’s disease in nonhuman primates. iScience, October 2021, 24: 103207-103229.
Ting Zhang, Ran Tao, Chunmei Yue*and Naihe Jing*. Protocol for generating human induced neural progenitor cells from immobilized adult peripheral blood. STAR Protocols. March 2021, 2 (1): 100346-100362.
Ran Tao, Rui Lu, Junfeng Wang, Shujun Zeng, Ting Zhang, Wenke Guo, Xiaobing Zhang, Qi Cheng, Chunmei Yue*, Yizheng Wang*, Naihe Jing*. Probing the therapeutic potential of TRPC6 for Alzheimer’s disease in neurons from patient-specific iPSCs. JMCB, June 2020, published.
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