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Mechanisms of neuronal protection in diabetic neuropathy.


School of Life Sciences

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Dr L Donaldson Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Sensory neurons are particularly vulnerable to damage. This is now most commonly found in diabetes mellitus where hyperglycaemia results in the production of several factors (e.g. advanced glycation end-products (AGE)) that can cause sensory neuronal damage and death. Sensory neuropathy is a debilitating complication of diabetes, affecting 50% of people with diabetes. In 20% of these people, sensory neuropathy leads to chronic pain.
We are currently investigating the effect of novel growth factors on the survival of sensory neurons in vitro and in vivo. We have demonstrated that these growth factors can protect sensory neurons from damage and death, and can stimulate the growth of neurites. We have also shown that these growth factors can protect sensory neurons in animal models of diabetes, and can reverse the pain associated with such nerve damage. We are currently investigating the mechanisms of this protection, developing and testing new drugs that can boost the endogenous expression of neuroprotective growth factors, and studying the interaction of growth factors and AGEs in diabetic neuropathy.

This project would also be suitable for students wishing to study for one year for an MRes .

The University of Nottingham is one of the world’s most respected research-intensive universities, ranked 8th in the UK for research power (REF 2014). Students studying in the School of Life Sciences will have the opportunity to thrive in a vibrant, multidisciplinary environment, with expert supervision from leaders in their field, state-of-the-art facilities and strong links with industry. Students are closely monitored in terms of their personal and professional progression throughout their study period and are assigned academic mentors in addition to their supervisory team. The School provides structured training as a fundamental part of postgraduate personal development and our training programme enables students to develop skills across the four domains of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF). During their studies, students will also have the opportunity to attend and present at conferences around the world. The School puts strong emphasis on the promotion of postgraduate research with a 2-day annual PhD research symposium attended by all students, plus academic staff and invited speakers.

Funding Notes

Home applicants should contact the supervisor to determine the current funding status for this project. EU applicants should visit the Graduate School webpages for information on specific EU scholarships http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/GraduateSchool/index.aspx. International applicants should visit our International Research Scholarships page for information regarding fees and funding at the University http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/studywithus/international-applicants/scholarships-fees-and-finance/index.aspx.
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