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MASTERS BY RESEARCH PROJECT: Approach – Avoidance foraging; a novel and ethological rodent assay to evaluate anxiety-like behaviour and the brain networks that support it


School of Physiology and Pharmacology

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Dr R Apps , Dr B Lumb , Dr Charlotte Lawrenson Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Start 23 September 2019

This MSc by Research is a laboratory-based project which offers the exciting opportunity to spend one year in one of our State-of-the-Art laboratories (and a year to write-up) at the University of Bristol and experience life as a researcher. You will be working with one of our cutting-edge research groups where you will learn new skills and techniques, including experimental design and implementation, data analysis and scientific writing.

A previous Masters project has developed and pharmacologically validated a novel anxiety assay called approach-avoidance foraging (AAF) in which animals collect food at increasing distances in an anxiogenic arena. We now wish to further this work and assess the ability of AAF to detect effects of atypical anxiolytics that offer clinical efficacy but often show little effects in pre-clinical assays typically used to assess anxiety (e.g. elevated plus maze). Findings from this work will support previous work from our laboratory and form the basis for submissions for publication offering you potential authorship from you Masters work. In addition, our group uses viral vectors to transduce brain networks and make selective manipulation using with opto- and chemogenetic approaches to reveal functional contributions to behaviour. On-going work is assessing the role of the medial prefrontal cortex in the regulation of survival functions including fear, anxiety and pain. There is opportunity to evaluate contributions of mPFC to the regulation of anxiety-like behaviour in the AAF assay and thus reveal brain networks that contribute to anxiety disorders in humans.
In this Masters you will get training and experience in:

* Small animal surgery
* Animals behaviour and assays
* Pharmacology and methods of peripheral and central drug delivery
* Viral vectors/opto-/chemogenetics

Please visit the UOB/Faculty of Life Sciences/ School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience/ postgraduate studies website for the complete list of available MSc by Research projects.

Funding Notes

This is a one-year, self-funded Masters (MSc) by research. Fees are £4300 (UK/EU Fee) and bench costs are £5000. Applicants should have (or expect to receive) the equivalent of a First or Upper second-class honours degree in a biomedical discipline.

When applying please select the Faculty of Life Sciences, MSc by Research, School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience


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