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  MScR - Early-life stress, susceptibility to mental health disorders and glia: central immune response in a rat model of pre-term birth

   School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience

  Dr Valentina Mosienko  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Depression and anxiety are the most prevalent mental health disorders affecting 1 in 4 people in the UK. Depression is the second most common cause of disability and together with other mental health disorders costs the UK economy an estimated £105 billion per year. Early life experience is reported to shape our mental health in adulthood. One of the earliest stress experienced in life is birth. It is estimated that about 7.5% of babies born across Europe are delivered preterm. Preterm babies are exposed to intermittent oxygen levels and are more likely to contract infection due to their prolonged hospital stays. Both changing oxygen levels and immune response were shown to contribute to the development of mental health illness in youngsters. However, effects of intermittent oxygen alone or in combination with bacterial infection in early life on central immune response and emotional behaviour in adulthood are not studied yet.

The overall aim of this project is to investigate the effects of hypoxia and bacterial infection on brain immune cells, astrocyte and microglia, in a rat model of pre-term birth and to discover whether drug supplementation would improve brain immune status and in turn prevent mental health disturbances throughout the lifespan.

The prospective student will be part of a vibrant multidisciplinary research group and Bristol Neuroscience community – and a wider research community as this project runs in collaboration with Dr Fiona McDonald at the University College Cork, Ireland. You will have a unique chance to receive training in a number of fundamental wet-lab techniques such as cell culture, immunohistochemistry and state-of-the-art imaging and image analysis techniques using MatLab and Image J . You will be encouraged to collaborate with other group members and gain experience in in vivo techniques, present your work at a conference and contribute to publishing a research paper. Please, do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you would like to further discuss this exciting project.

How to apply:

MSc by Research (MScR) is a 1-year research degree that provides an intensive lab-based training and a preparation for PhD study. You will carry out your studies as part of your research group – like a PhD student does. Towards the end of the year, you write up a thesis on your research and are examined on this. This degree suits students wanting to gain maximum research experience in preparation for PhD applications.

We are keen to recruit a diverse range of students and to ensure our research is open to all.

We particularly welcome applications from groups traditionally under-represented in life sciences research. Please check the University webpages for the current tuition fee information. Most MScR projects also require a bench fee. This varies depending on the research and your project supervisor can tell you the bench fee for the project. PhDPhysiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience | Study at Bristol | University ofBristol

You should apply to the Faculty of Life Sciences, School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, selecting the programme "Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience (MSc by Research)".

Biological Sciences (4) Medicine (26)

Funding Notes

This project is available to UK and international students who wish to self-fund their MScR or who have access to their own funding.
Please contact Dr Mosienko directly for information about the project and how to apply ().


Relevant literature – starter reading:
Sheikhbahaei S et al. The Journal of Comparative Neurology, 2018; doi: 10.1002/cne.24472
McDonald FB et al. Experimental Physiology, 2020; doi: 10.1113/EP087490
Maria L Dias et al. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 2021; doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00307.2020

How good is research at University of Bristol in Biological Sciences?

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

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