Investigation of the extracellular matrix as a regulator of Parkinson’s progression


   Faculty of Life Sciences

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Parkinson’s is the 2nd most common neurodegenerative disease, affecting around 1 in 20 people aged over 65. In the UK, the number of affected people is set to rise by 50% over the next 50 years due to ageing populations. The only treatments available can only temporarily improve symptoms and do not slow disease progression. Together this creates a pressing need for the development of disease slowing therapies.

Progression of Parkinson’s symptoms is matched by the death of neurons and development of Lewy pathology in specific brain areas. However, not all neurons develop the pathology or die, demonstrating resistance. While factors of neuronal vulnerability have been investigated the factors underlying neuronal resistance have not, understanding these factors will reveal new therapeutic opportunities in the treatment of Parkinson’s. The brain extracellular matrix is one potential resistance factor.

The extracellular matrix (ECM) is the environment that cells inhabit and is composed of proteins and glycosaminoglycans, negatively charged sugars. The ECM can set the tone of the tissue environment, setting an inhibitory or a permissive tone for cell survival, regeneration, or plasticity. It is a dense substrate and controls the diffusion and spread of substances through it. This particularly relevant in Parkinson’s and other prion-like neurodegenerative disease, where a toxic protein spreads through the central nervous system.

The aim of this PhD is to investigate the role of the brain ECM in the spread and progression of Parkinson’s. This will be done by interrogating the differences in ECM between brain areas and using neuronal culture to test these differences.

Suitable Student Qualifications

Applicants should have at least 2:1 honours degree in Biomedical science, Biological science or related degree.

How to apply

Formal applications can be submitted via the University of Bradford web site; applicants will need to register an account and select 'Full-time PhD in Biomedical Science' as the course, and then specify the project title when prompted.

About the University of Bradford

Bradford is a research-active University supporting the highest-quality research. We excel in applying our research to benefit our stakeholders by working with employers and organisations world-wide across the private, public, voluntary and community sectors and actively encourage and support our postgraduate researchers to engage in research and business development activities.

Faculty of Life Sciences

The faculty comprises a mixture of academic divisions, research centres and outreach facilities. We provide high-quality teaching with a professional focus and engage in cutting-edge research – which we seek to apply through our extensive links with industry and business. We also offer a wide range of postgraduate taught and research courses.

Many of our academics are active researchers and international research experts.

Our interdisciplinary research themes are focus on:

  • Computational and Data-driven Science
  • Interface of Chemistry Biology and Materials
  • Health, Society, People and Place
  • The Life Course

Our research centres include:

  • Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering Science
  • Digital Health Enterprise Zone
  • Institute of Cancer Therapeutics
  • Wolfson Centre for Applied Research

University investment in research support services, equipment and infrastructure provides an excellent research environment and broad portfolio of developmental opportunities. 

Positive Action Statement

At the University of Bradford our vision is a world of inclusion and equality of opportunity, where people want to, and can, make a difference. We place equality and diversity, inclusion, and a commitment to social mobility at the centre of our mission and ethos. In working to make a difference we are committed to addressing systemic inequality and disadvantages experienced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students.

Under sections 158-159 of the Equality Act 2010, positive action can be taken where protected group members are under-represented. At Bradford, our data show that people from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic groups who are UK nationals are significantly under-represented at the postgraduate researcher level. 

These are lawful measures designed to address systemic and structural issues which result in the under-representation of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic students in PGR studies.

Biological Sciences (4) Medicine (26)

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded PhD project; applicants will be expected to pay their own fees or have a suitable source of third-party funding. Bench fees may apply to this project, in addition to tuition fees. UK students may be able to apply for a Doctoral Loan from Student Finance for financial support.

Register your interest for this project



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