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PhD Studentship in Vascular Biology and Neuroscience: 3-Dimensional Mapping of the Retinal Neurovascular Unit in Diabetes


Biosciences Institute

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Prof M Taggart , Dr D Steel No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Number of awards:
1

Start date and duration:
28 September 2020. 3 Year PhD.

Overview:
This project seeks to unravel the cellular mechanisms underlying diabetic retinopathy (DR), a leading cause of adult blindness. A feature of DR is disruption of the neurovascular unit (NVU) that regulates retinal blood flow. The NVU describes the structures encompassing blood vessels of the retina (endothelium, smooth muscle, pericytes) and surrounding neural-related cells (astrocytes, neurons and glia). To assist with developing strategies to correct NVU dysfunction we require a detailed knowledge (i) of the heterocellular interactions of the NVU in normal circumstances (ii) how these change with progression of DR (iii) if they can be prevented, or reversed, with drug treatment. We will use serial block face scanning electron microscopy (SBF-SEM), and computational 3D reconstruction analyses, to explore these issues.
We will examine in intricate detail the 3-D structural arrangement of cells in the NVU of retinas from human donors and animal models of diabetes. The project offers the opportunity of training on two sites (Newcastle University and Queen’s University Belfast) in cell/tissue (neuro)physiology, nanoscale anatomy, advanced microscopy and 3-D image reconstruction processes.

Sponsor:
Newcastle University (https://bit.ly/3gIWAyk)

Name of supervisor(s):
Professors M J Taggart (https://bit.ly/3gEEq0t) and D Steel (https://bit.ly/2MkyPyp), Newcastle University (https://bit.ly/3gIWAyk)

Professor T Curtis (https://pure.qub.ac.uk/en/persons/tim-curtis), Queen’s University Belfast

Eligibility Criteria:
You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree in Physiology, Neuroscience, Cell Biology, Biomedical Sciences or related area. A further qualification including an MSc or MRes in a related area is advantageous.
This award is available to UK/EU and international applicants.
To study this course you need to meet the following English Language requirements:
IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all other sub-skills).

How to apply:
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’ (https://bit.ly/3do4xXA).
Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:
• insert the programme code 8300F* in the programme of study section
• select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences – Biosciences as the programme of study
• insert the studentship code BI028 in the studentship reference field
• attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code BI028 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
• attach degree transcripts and certificates, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications
* The online application system will only allow one application using programme code 8300F. If you are applying for TWO or more projects using that code you will need to email our Postgraduate Admissions Service ([Email Address Removed]) with the following:
Application number (from the first project application you submitted)
The second studentship code and its corresponding title
A two page covering letter for the second project
Our Postgraduate Admissions Service then forward this information to the relevant selector in the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

Funding Notes

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £15,285 (full award). Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between UK/EU fees and international fees.
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