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PhD Studentship - Mechanisms of spinal cord stimulation and neuropathic pain

   Translational and Clinical Research Institute

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  Dr Ilona Obara  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) by electricity provides a valuable treatment for chronic neuropathic pain sufferers unresponsive to medication. However, due to poorly understood mechanisms underlying SCS analgesia, about 30% of patients still remain insensitive to this last-line of pain management. Currently there are no available animal models of SCS aligned with clinical practice in patients to address this gap. This PhD project aims to: (1) develop a novel rat model of SCS analgesia aligned with clinical practice; (2) characterise how SCS changes neural responses; and (3) link these functional changes to rats’ pain experiences. The successful candidate will also work closely with Saluda Medical, which has innovative technologies to stimulate the spinal cord in a rat model of neuropathic pain in a way that aligns with SCS practice in clinics. This will better translate between animal and human work. The project will combine behavioural and neuroscientific (e.g., immunohistochemistry) methods to characterise the mechanisms underlying neuropathic pain and SCS analgesia in the rat model, leading to improvements of SCS in clinics. The candidate will also interact with our multidisciplinary Pain Group and pain clinicians to strengthen the research bridging the gap between basic and clinical research.

Number Of Awards


Start Date

1 October 2022.

Award Duration

3 years.


Newcastle University and Saluda Medical Group Europe Ltd


Dr Ilona Obara and Dr Quoc Chi Vuong

Eligibility Criteria

This advert is open to UK and International candidates.

We require applicants to hold, or be about to obtain, an Upper Second class Honours degree, or the equivalent qualification gained in a related subject area for entry to a PhD programme (or international equivalent). A Lower Second class Honours degree may be considered if applicants also hold a Master's degree with a Merit classification.

For applicants whose first language is not English, or if you have not studied recently in the UK, you must provide evidence of how you meet the English Language requirement.

Ideally, we are looking for candidates who have some prior experience with lab-based experiments using in vivo models and holding Home Office licence to conduct in vivo research (or international equivalent).

How To Apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’.

•insert the programme code 8440F in the programme of study section

•select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences’ as the programme of study

•insert the studentship code TC048 in the studentship/partnership reference field

•attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the reference code TC048 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project

•attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.

Contact Details

Enquiries to lead supervisor: Dr Ilona Obara.

Funding Notes

100% of Home/International Fees. Annual stipend based on UKRI rates (currently £16062 for 22/23) Visa and associated costs. No travel costs included.
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