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MSc by Research programme - Modelling dementia-related synaptic dysfunction in the fruit-fly Drosophila melanogaster


   School of Biological Sciences


About the Project

Background: Almost a million of people in the UK live with dementia. Alzheimer’s disease (AD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are the most common causes of neurodegenerative dementias. Evidence suggests that dysfunction and loss of the synapse might be a common pathological feature underlying the cognitive decline and memory loss in these neurodegenerative disorders. FTD and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) share several clinical, neuropathological and genetic features, with FTD primarily seen as a progressive brain disease, and ALS as a central and peripheral disorder affecting motoneurons controlling voluntary muscle movements. We will analysie different models of FTD/ALS in the fruit-fly Drosophila melanogaster (and, potentially, in other model species) using a plethora of genetic, molecular, imaging, behavioural and physiological tools to:

1. Understand the main physiological and molecular features of pathological synapses, and

2. Identify potential molecular targets for therapeutic interventions in humans

Entry Requirements: Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in biological sciences and have training/experience in molecular cell biology or related disciplines, with outstanding references. 


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