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  Targeting ageing and neurodegenerative diseases using the fruit-fly Drosophila melanogaster


   School of Biological Sciences

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

In the last 20 years the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster emerged as a pre-eminent model system for studying changes that occur during both normal and pathological ageing (~75 per cent of the genes that cause disease in humans are also found in the fruit fly!). In our lab, we use a range of genetic, molecular, imaging, physiological and computational techniques to investigate:

a) Neurodegenerative diseases

Almost a million of people in the UK suffer from neurodegenerative disorders. Alzheimer’s disease (AD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are the most common causes of neurodegenerative dementias. Parkinson's disease (PD), the fastest growing neurological condition in the world, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or motor neurone disease (ALS/MND), are progressive movement diseases.

The lab is actively investigating various Drosophila models of FTD, ALS/MND and PD with the goal identifying novel molecular targets for therapeutic interventions in humans.

2. Biology of ageing

One of the goals of ageing research is to identify pharmacological and genetic interventions that can extend lifespan and/or improve physical and cognitive performance in old age. The research of the last 20 years revealed a high level of conservation of genetic pathways and biochemical processes that regulate lifespan in organisms as diverse as yeast, worms, flies and humans. We have recently identified several compounds with likely pro-longevity effects. The aim of this project is to assess the effect of these compounds during healthy ageing and in various Drosophila models of human diseases. The initial behavioural studies will be followed by an array of molecular, biochemical, imaging and functional analyses.

Entry Requirements: Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area / subject. Candidates with experience in molecular biology, computational modelling, electrophysiology or Drosophila genetics are particularly encouraged to apply.


Biological Sciences (4)

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