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MSc BY RESEARCH PROJECT ’Approach – Avoidance foraging; a novel and ethological rodent assay to evaluate anxiety-like behaviour and the brain networks that support it’

Project Description

This Masters by Research (MSc) 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 supervisors: Prof Bridget Lumb, Prof Richard Apps, Dr Charlotte Lawrenson & Dr Robert Drake

The Project:

A previous Masters project has developed and pharmacologically validated a novel anxiety assay called approach¬-avoidance foraging (AAF) in which animals collect food at increasing distances in an anxiogenic arena. We now wish to further this work and assess the ability of AAF to detect effects of atypical anxiolytics that offer clinical efficacy but often show little effects in pre-clinical assays typically used to assess anxiety (e.g. elevated plus maze). Findings from this work will support previous work from our laboratory and form the basis for submissions for publication offering you potential authorship from you Masters work. In addition, our group uses viral vectors to transduce brain networks and make selective manipulation using with opto- and chemogenetic approaches to reveal functional contributions to behaviour. On-going work is assessing the role of the medial prefrontal cortex in the regulation of survival functions including fear, anxiety and pain. There is opportunity to evaluate contributions of mPFC to the regulation of anxiety-like behaviour in the AAF assay and thus reveal brain networks that contribute to anxiety disorders in humans.
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

Funding Notes

This is a one year, self-funded Masters (MSc) by research. Fees are £4300 and bench costs will be covered by our laboratory.
Applicants should have (or expect to receive) a First or Upper second-class honours degree in a biomedical discipline.

Start date: Sept 2019

Please contact Dr Robert Drake () for further information.

When applying please ensure you select Life Sciences Faculty, Masters by Research, School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience.

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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