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MASTERS BY RESEARCH PROJECT: Neural mechanisms of the effects of social interactions on the pain experience


Project Description

Start 23 September 2019

This MSc by Research is a laboratory-based project which offers the exciting opportunity to spend 1 year in one of our State-of-the-Art laboratories (plus 1 year thesis writing) 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.

The Group:
This project is a collaboration between two Schools in the Faculty of Life Sciences and is entirely laboratory based giving you the best possible experience of life as a researcher as well enough time to develop skills and techniques. You will be working in a cutting-edge in vivo neuroscience research laboratory using the latest technology and approaches in pre-clinical research. On-going work in the group includes collaboration with industry partners and medical professionals giving you the fullest possible experience of multidisciplinary research.

The Project:
Feelings of pain are a familiar and inevitable facet of human life. Regardless of their physical origin, most pains converge on a similar “unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage”. Different types of pain also tend to share similar consequences: they usually reduce people’s quality of life, increase the incidence of absence from work, and/or increase the use of healthcare resources. In light of the above, pain has long been considered a prevalent health condition that can result in severe personal and economic costs.
Aiming to reduce these costs, many physicians, neuroscientists, and psychologists have tried to identify treatments that can support effective pain management. Thanks to their efforts there remains little doubt today that both biological as well as psychosocial factors play an important role in alleviating or reducing pain. As a result, contemporary pain interventions typically combine pharmacological approaches with social support sessions. The actual interplay between relevant biological and psychosocial factors in pain management, however, remains poorly understood. To overcome this lack of clarity, this project aims to investigate whether a basic psychosocial intervention (i.e., the exposure to social company) can elicit a well-understood biological mechanism (neurochemical release e.g. oxytocin) to produce pain relief. To do so, it aims to develop a dedicated animal model that can be used to examine whether there is a causal relationship between the release of neuroactive substances such as oxytocin during exposure to social company and the subsequent relief of pain.

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

Related Subjects

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 64.60

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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