Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, are often associated with chronic neuroinflammation and glial cell dysfunction that acts to exacerbate neuronal damage and loss of synapses. Progressive loss of white matter in the Alzheimer’s disease brain also highlights the importance of maintaining glial cell health into old age. In recent years, there has been significant progress in our understanding of the role of glial cells in maintaining neuronal homeostasis and promoting synaptic plasticity and memory formation. This project will provide the successful candidate the opportunity to advance our knowledge of the importance of neuron-glial communication in neurodegenerative disease.
Using interdisciplinary laboratory approaches, including fluorescence microscopy, electrophysiology and in vitro brain slice models of Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis, the PhD student will investigate how glial cells modulate synaptic plasticity and calcium signalling in cortical and hippocampal neural networks.
The main goal of this project is to identify novel molecular drug targets and pharmacological compounds that can attenuate neuroinflammation in the brain and potentially reverse ageing- and Alzheimer’s disease-related cognitive decline and memory impairment.
The successful PhD candidate will work in a multidisciplinary collaborative laboratory and receive training in a range of research techniques including primary cell culture, immunofluorescence, proteomics, live-cell calcium imaging, electrophysiology and behavioural paradigms. Enthusiastic and motivated candidates who are passionate about conducting cross-disciplinary research in neuropharmacology, ageing and bioengineering are encouraged to contact Dr Graham Sheridan in the first instance to discuss the project in more detail.