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Investigating Dipeptide Repeat Interactions in Drosophila Models of C9Orf72 Related Frontotemporal Dementia and Motor Neuron Disease

Project Description

Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) and Motor Neurone Disease (MND) are two overlapping neurodegenerative disorders. A large repeat expansion (GGGGCC) mutation in the C9Orf72 locus is the most common genetic cause of both Frontotemporal Dementia and Motor Neurone Disease. It is found in approximately one in twelve patients diagnosed with these diseases. In unaffected individuals this repeat is typically between 1 and 30 repeats. In affected patients it is frequently in excess of 500 repeats. This pathological repeat leads to the formation of 5 toxic dipeptide repeat (DPR) proteins. Recently we have generated the first Drosophila (fruit fly) models expressing these DPRs over 1000 repeats in length. Using these models, we are investigating the molecular mechanisms contributing to neuronal dysfunction and neurodegeneration down-stream of these DPRs. Using a combination of in vivo and ex vivo Drosophila models, combined with the study of mammalian cell models, this project will look to establish how different DPR species interact with each other and the effect this has on phenotypes at a molecular, cellular and behavioural level.

Funding Notes

These studentships will be 42 months in duration, and include home fee and stipend at UKRI rate.

Interested candidates should in the first instance contact Dr Ryan West ()


Candidates must have a first or upper second class honors degree or significant research experience

How to apply:
Please complete a University Postgraduate Research Application form available here:

Please clearly state the prospective main supervisor in the respective box and select (Neuroscience) as the department.

Deadline for applications is 5pm on Wednesday 29th January 2020. Late applications will not be accepted. Interviews are scheduled to be held on Tuesday 25th February 2020.

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