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Imaging of element distribution in brain tissue

Project Description

Trace elements are non-homogenously distributed in brain tissue, the distribution depends on the element. There is some research indicating that trace elements, in particular Fe, Cu and Zn, are associated with neurodegenerative diseases.

This project is about developing quantification methods for elemental imaging of brain thin sections. You will have to develop suitable standard materials and methods for calibration for the quantification of essential and non-essential elements present in tissue using laser ablation ICP-MS as measurement method. The development of internal standardisation using eg rhodium as non-biological element is another part of the project. The method has to be cross-validated using total element determination in the prepared standards and test-samples.

The developed method will then be applied to biological tissues of varying origin.

Quantitative LA-ICP-MS (laser ablation ICP-MS) of biological tissue

- Develop standard materials
- Develop calibration methods
- Develop internal standardisation methods
- Cross-validate LA-ICP-MS results with results from total digestion
- Apply developed method to brain thin sections of rats and different murine AD models

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Analytical Chemistry. It is essential that the successful candidate has a solid knowledge in basic instrumental analytical chemistry. Knowledge of ICP-MS and laser ablation system is preferred.


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
• Detailed CV

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr Andrea Raab () with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ()

Funding Notes

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Chemistry/Neuroscience. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance along with Additional Research Costs of £7,000 per annum. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting View Website. THERE IS NO FUNDING ATTACHED TO THIS PROJECT.


1) Potrykus J, Stead D, MacCallum DM, Urgast DS, Raab A, van Rooijen N, Feldmann J, Brown AJP; Fungal Iron Availability during Deep Seated Candidiasis Is Defined by a Complex Interplay Involving Systemic and Local Events; PLoS Pathog (2013) 9(10): e1003676
2) Urgast DS, Ou O, Gordon MJ, Raab A, Nixon GF, Kwun IS, Beattie JH, Feldmann J; Microanalytical isotope ratio measurements and elemental mapping using laser ablation ICP-MS for tissue thin sections: zinc tracer studies in rats; Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (2011) 402(1):287-297
3) Corbin BD, Seeley EH, Raab A, Feldmann J, Miller MR, Torres VJ, Anderson KL, Datillo BM, Dunman PM, Gerads R, Caprioli RM, Nacken W, Chazin WJ, Skaar EP; Metal chelation and inhibition of bacterial growth in tissue abscesses ; Science (2008) 319:962-965

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