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  How to regulate plasticity in the brain

   Faculty of Biological Sciences

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The Kwok Lab at the School of Biomedical Science invites applications from prospective postgraduate researchers who wish to commence study for a PhD in the academic year 2024/25.

Neuroplasticity is a process which allows the adaptation of the central nervous systems (CNS) to external stimuli. An enhancement in neuroplasticity in the adult CNS could facilitate memory retention in ageing and neurodegenerative conditions, and improve functional recovery after CNS injuries. This relies on a good understanding of how neuroplasticity is being regulated in the CNS.

The Kwok Lab at the University of Leeds focuses on an extracellular structure on neuronal surface called perineuronal nets (PNNs). Modulation of PNNs has been shown to enhance neuroplasticity. This project will focus on how PNNs execute the functions. We shall use techniques from different disciplines, including biochemistry, histology/microscopy, biophysics, cell biology and animal behavioural assessment to interrogate the functions of PNNs. Due to the diverse scopes of the project, it will be suitable to students with experience in biochemistry, biological sciences, medicinal chemistry or biophysics

More information can be found here:

A list of our papers: ‪Jessica C F Kwok - ‪Google Scholar


Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Biological Sciences minimum requirements in IELTS and TOEFL tests are:

  • British Council IELTS - score of 6.0 overall, with no element less than 5.5
  • TOEFL iBT - overall score of 87 with the listening and reading element no less than 20, writing element no less than 21 and the speaking element no less than 22. 

How to apply

Please contact Dr Jessica Kwok () if you have any questions and before application. 

To apply for this project applicants should complete an online application form and attach the following documentation to support their application. 

  • a full academic CV
  • degree certificate and transcripts of marks
  • Evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (if applicable)
  • Evidence of funding

To help us identify that you are applying for this project please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;

  • Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
  • Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert

For information about the application process please contact the Faculty Admissions Team:


Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6)

Funding Notes

This project is open to applicants who have the funding to support their own studies or who have a sponsor who will cover these costs.

How good is research at University of Leeds in Biological Sciences?

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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