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  How does in utero exposure to antiseizure medications disrupt brain development and cause neurodevelopmental impairments?

   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

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  Dr Gareth Morris, Prof Sue Kimber  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The UK Epilepsy Research Institute has funded a Doctoral Training Centre in North-West England focused on research into cognition in people with epilepsy and their offspring. This funding will facilitate six interrelated funded PhD opportunities; three at The University of Manchester and three at the University of Liverpool. A unified and bespoke training programme in epilepsy research will be offered across the two institutions.

Candidates are invited to apply for a fully-funded 3 year PhD project to interrogate the teratogenic effects of prenatal exposure to antiseizure medications. The project will be supervised by Dr Gareth Morris, Prof Susan Kimber (both University of Manchester) and Dr Adeniyi Olagunju (University of Liverpool).

Background - Epilepsy is primarily treated using antiseizure medications, but these can pose a teratogenic risk when taken during pregnancy. The precise mechanisms of these risks are not well-defined, and a better understanding of these risks will allow us to manage women’s epilepsy more safely during pregnancy.

Techniques – This project will use a mixture of human stem cell and rodent models to assess teratogenic effects and mechanisms of antiseizure medications.

Key skills and experience:

             -Candidates must have a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in neuroscience or a related field. MSc (or equivalent research experience) in neuroscience or a related field is desirable but not essential.

-Experience of neurodevelopmental assays

             -Experience of measuring neural excitability

             -Experience of gene expression analysis

             -Ability to work effectively individually and as part of a team

             -Evidence of research experience in epilepsy or a closely related field


Applicants must have obtained or be about to obtain a First or Upper Second class UK honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, ideally in neuroscience or a related field. Applicants will have an MSc (or equivalent research experience) in neuroscience or a related field.

Before you Apply

Applicants must make direct contact with preferred supervisors before applying. It is your responsibility to make arrangements to meet with potential supervisors, prior to submitting a formal online application.

How to Apply

On the online application form select PhD Neuroscience.

For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website ( Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select PhD Neuroscience.

Your application form must be accompanied by a number of supporting documents by the advertised deadlines. Without all the required documents submitted at the time of application, your application will not be processed and we cannot accept responsibility for late or missed deadlines. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

If you have any queries regarding making an application please contact our admissions team [Email Address Removed]

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website

Biological Sciences (4) Medicine (26)

Funding Notes

This project is funded by the Epilepsy Research Institute . Studentship funding is for a duration of three years to commence in September 2024 and covers UK tuition fees and a UKRI stipend. Due to funding restrictions the studentship is only open to UK nationals.

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