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PhD Studentship in Forebrain Regulation of the Avian Stress Response

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Value of award: £35,566.92 p.a. before taxes (approximately), including fees.

Number of awards: 1

Start date and duration: 30 September 2019 for 3 years.

Application closing date: 15 May 2019.


The stress response is a deeply conserved trait of vertebrate physiology, and is essentially the same from fishes to mammals. However, the forebrains in different vertebrate lineages are very different. In mammals, we know that forebrain areas such as the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and amygdala play an important role in regulating the stress response, but we know very little about this in birds. This proposed PhD project will investigate how the avian hippocampus and amygdala coordinate the stress response in chickens. This is a project ideal for a comparative neuroscientist and will include: neuronal activity mapping using immediate early genes, tract tracing, and intervention experiments to understand the role of the avian hippocampus in regulating the stress response. This work will also link to other work from our laboratory showing that chronic stress reduces adult neurogenesis in the chicken hippocampus.

This position is part of the ChickenStress European Training Network (, a consortium of 14 projects aimed at better understanding stress regulation and stress resilience in laying hens. The ultimate goal of the consortium is to improve the welfare of laying hens by improving genetics, early life experiences and housing environments.

Name of supervisor(s): Tom Smulders and Tim Boswell.

Eligibility Criteria

This PhD studentship are open to people of any nationality. However, the Marie S. Curie Actions have two strict eligibility criteria for applicants to these positions:

EARLY STAGE: The applicant must be within the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of her/his research career (starting from the moment you obtain a degree that makes you eligible to study for a PhD) and not have a doctoral degree. Adjustments can be made for career breaks.

MOBILITY: The applicant must not have resided or carried out her/his main activity (e.g. work, studies) in the country where she/he has been recruited for more than 12 months in the three years immediately before the recruitment date (this is the day on which you start your PhD).

How to apply

You can apply through this link:


For further information please email .

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