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Memory networks underlying consolidation

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, May 01, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

A number of brain regions have been implicated in memory, specifically the medial temporal lobe (e.g., hippocampus), medial diencephalon (e.g., anterior thalamic nuclei and mammillary bodies), cingulate cortex (e.g. retrosplenial cortex) and midbrain nuclei (e.g. Gudden’s tegmental nuclei). However, the overwhelming majority of memory research is focused on just one of these areas, the hippocampus, often ignoring the critical contribution of complementary networks. While the hippocampus is unquestionably important for memory, there remains a longstanding need to understand how wider neural networks support memory. While we know areas such as the medial diencephalon and midbrain tegmentum are important for memory we still do not know why. These structures are implicated in numerous neurological conditions that are associated with memory problems (e.g., Down syndrome, colloid cyst, sleep apnoea, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, hypoxic-ischaemic encephalitis), highlighting a pressing need to better understand their function.

In our labs we are examining the contribution of these extended memory networks at different stages of spatial memory formation. We use a combination of complementary techniques in rodents to test multi-level models from the single-cell level to behaviour in rodents. This project will combine in vivo electrophysiology, optogenetics, chemogenetics and behavioural paradigms, with a further option of using techniques such as in vivo calcium imaging and MR imaging.

The project would be appropriate for those with a Neuroscience/Psychology background and/or candidates with a computational science background who have a strong interest in neuroscience.

Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals, and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education.

As only one studentship is available and a very high standard of applications is typically received, the successful applicant is likely to have a very good first degree (a First or Upper Second class BSc Honours or equivalent) and/or be distinguished by having relevant research experience.

Funding Notes

The studentship will commence in October 2019 and will cover your tuition fees (at UK/EU level) as well as a maintenance grant. In 2018-2019 the maintenance grant for full-time students was £14,777 per annum. As well as tuition fees and a maintenance grant, all School of Psychology students receive conference and participant money (approx. £2250 for the duration of the studentship). They also receive a computer, office space and access to courses offered by the University’s Doctoral Academy and become members of the University Doctoral Academy.


You can apply online - consideration is automatic on applying for a PhD in Psychology, with an October 2019 start date (programme code RFPDPSYA).

Please use our online application service at and specify in the funding section that you wish to be considered for School funding.

Please specify that you are applying for this particular project and the supervisor.

Application deadline: 1st May with interviews (either in person or by Skype) being held on or around 14th May and decisions being made by 20th May.

How good is research at Cardiff University in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 69.33

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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