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Self-funded project: Dissecting the mechanisms underlying sleep disturbances in Parkinson’s Disease

Department of Biology

About the Project

Application accepted for either MSc by Research or PhD.

Ageing and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s, are characterized by a progressive loss of neurons in particular brain regions leading to characteristic behavioural changes including cognitive decline and sleep disruption. The identification of familial mutations as a cause of Parkinson’s diseases has led to intense research on the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which various disease-related Parkinsonian mutations affect neurons to cause behavioural changes. We have recently found that a Parkinson’s-associated mutation, G2019S, in leucine-rich repeated kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene recapitulates sleep phenotypes in the model organism Drosophila Melanogaster. The LRRK2-G2019S protein has increased kinase activity and this drives pathogenesis but the LRRK2 substrates and molecular mechanisms that underlie this remain unclear. Several putative substrates have been identified but have not yet been linked causally to the disease phenotypes. This project will use molecular, genetic and behavioural approaches in Drosophila to investigate whether putative LRRK2 substrates acting in particular neuronal circuits underlie the sleep phenotypes in Parkinson’s disease.

The Department of Biology at the University of York is committed to recruiting extraordinary future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills.

Funding Notes

This is a self funded research project. Applicants need to have adequate funds to meet the costs of a self-funded research project including tuition fees and living expenses for the duration of the research programme.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this programme means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any biological, chemical, and/or physical science, or students with mathematical backgrounds who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological questions.

START DATE: 1st October 2021

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