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Mixed signals: How different signalling modes are established in neurons

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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Dr M Kittelmann , Prof I Bermudez , Dr R Pink No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Oxford Brookes University
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences,
Department of Biomedical and Medical Sciences

3 Year, full-time PhD studentship

Project title: Mixed signals: How different signalling modes are established in neurons

Eligibility: UK/EU and International students
Closing date: 11 December 2020
Start date: September 2021
Bursary p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2020/21 bursary rate is £15, 285)
University fees and bench fees at the UK rate will be met by the University for the 3 years of the Studentship.
Supervisors: Dr Maike Kittelmann, Prof. Isabel Bermudez, Dr Ryan Pink, Prof Janet Richmond (external)
Fees: Tuition fees up to UK level will be paid by the University. Any EU and international students awarded the studentship would need to cover the difference between international, EU and UK fees. Please note, fees increase by 4% annually

Signal transduction from neurons happens on multiple levels: Neurotransmitters are released from synaptic vesicles at the active zone of synaptic connections and are highly specific to their target cells. Neuropeptides on the other hand are released from dense core vesicles and can modulate synaptic activity or act as long range signalling molecules to play a modulatory role in most behaviours. A third and even less understood mode of signalling is achieved through the release of exosomes from the plasma membrane of the neuronal cell body, axon or dendrite. However, how the components of these different signalling modes are correctly localised, their release sites established and maintained during development and how they interact with each other is still not well understood. While a variety of synaptic proteins have been suggested to be transported in precursor vesicles to the synaptic bouton, there is very little data on what distinguishes a precursor vesicle morphologically, what their cargo content is and how they are transformed locally into distinct synaptic and dense core vesicles. Additionally, multivesicular bodies have been suggested to be involved in protein sorting, recycling and transport in neurons as well as stabilization and modulation of neuromuscular signalling through the release of exosomes. We will use the powerful model organisms C. elegans with its vast range of genetic tools, fluorescent and electron microscopy as well as behavioural assays to better understand how synaptic components are transported to their correct release site, how extracellular cues from exosomes influence and modulate the formation of such sites as well as the effect on neuronal wiring and behaviour when these processes are disrupted.

For informal inquiries about the project please contact Dr Maike Kittelmann: [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification in biological science or related discipline. EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate (or equivalent) with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre.

How to apply:
Applications should be sent to [Email Address Removed] and should include the following application form:

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