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  MScR: Involvement of astrocytes in neurological manifestations of Long COVID syndrome

   School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience

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  Prof A Teschemacher  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

A significant fraction of patients affected by Long COVID, long-term consequences following acute SARS-CoV-2 infection, suffer from mental fatigue and cognitive deficits (1-3).  

It has been demonstrated that the corona virus responsible is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and infect the central nervous system directly (4). In post-mortem brain tissue from patients who had died with COVID19, the majority of infected cells were astrocytes (5). Moreover, it was shown that astrocytic glycolytic and oxidative metabolism was affected by ongoing virus infection (5). In order to begin to understand the pathology of Long COVID related “brain fog”, the aim of this project is to investigate how SARS-CoV-2 proteins, in particular its spike and its multifunctional nucleocapsid proteins, affect astrocytic physiology and signalling. 

The study will involve confocal live imaging of primary cultures of rodent astrocytes, metabolic assays and molecular biology approaches using viral vectors. 

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.

Please follow the link below and apply to the Faculty of Life Sciences, School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, selecting the programme "Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience (MSc by Research)".

PhD Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience | Study at Bristol | University of Bristol

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 Prof Teschemacher directly for information about the project and how to apply ([Email Address Removed]).


1. R. Ferrucci et al., Long-Lasting Cognitive Abnormalities after COVID-19. Brain Sci 11, (2021).
2. R. Ferrucci et al., One-year cognitive follow-up of COVID-19 hospitalized patients. Eur J Neurol 29, 2006-2014 (2022).
3. F. Ceban et al., Fatigue and cognitive impairment in Post-COVID-19 Syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Brain Behav Immun 101, 93-135 (2022).
4. L. Zhang et al., SARS-CoV-2 crosses the blood-brain barrier accompanied with basement membrane disruption without tight junctions alteration. Signal Transduct Target Ther 6, 337 (2021).
5. F. Crunfli et al., Morphological, cellular, and molecular basis of brain infection in COVID-19 patients. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 119, e2200960119 (2022).

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