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Preservation of criticality in hypoxic, dissociated neural networks, via oestrogen triggered synaptic modulation.

Project Description

Billions of interconnected neurons communicate electrically and form activity patterns in a critical state, finely balanced between order and chaos. Criticality is believed to underlie encoding and transferring of information, so it is a fundamental property enabling information processing in the brain but it can be disrupted when a traumatic event, such as an ischemic stroke, occurs. On the other hand, evidence has shown that specific biomolecules, such as oestrogen, can be neuroprotective, during traumatic events.

In this project, we will examine how oestrogen can salvage neuronal network activity, under neurodegenerative conditions. We will culture in vitro neural networks on multi-electrode arrays (MEA) and chemically treat them to emulate brain pathology. We will then examine how the structure of the neural networks (synaptic connections) and their activity patterns change under different conditions and investigate the neuroprotective effects of oestrogen. The project will conclude with the proposition of a model that links the transition of neural activity between critical and noncritical states and the mechanism of action of oestrogen.

• Applicants should hold or expect to gain a minimum of a 2:1 Bachelor Degree (but preferably a 1st) or equivalent in biomedical/electrical engineering or strongly related disciplines.
• Due to restrictions on funding this studentship is open to UK/EU students. EU applicants only qualify for a stipend if they have been resident in the UK for the 3 years leading up to the start of the PhD; if they have not, then they only qualify for fees-only support from the EPSRC DTP. The studentship begins on 30th September 2019 and lasts for 3 years. The Research Council national minimum doctoral stipend is £15,009 for 2019/20.

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Evangelos Delivopoulos ()

Funding Notes

To apply for this studentship please submit an application for a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at View Website.

*Important notes*
1) Please quote the reference ‘GS19-058 ’ in the ‘Scholarships applied for’ box which appears within the Funding Section of your on-line application.
2) When you are prompted to upload a research proposal, please omit this step.

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