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The Drosophila neurotrophin system in brain development and plasticity

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Hidalgo
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

PhD projects are offered on the investigation of DNT and Toll receptors in brain development and plasticity in the fruit-fly Drosophila. Please see our recent publications: Zhu et al 2008 PLoS Biology; Sutcliffe et al 2013 PLoS One; McIlroy et al 2013 Nature Neuroscience; Foldi et al 2017 JCB, ’one of the To 10’ JCB papers of 2017). Our lab aims to understand how the nervous system is formed, and how it works. Structure and function come together in the course of development, and influence each other throughout life, endowing the nervous system with plasticity. As the animal grows and nervous system volume and cell number increase, the two cell types in the nervous system - neurons and glial cells - make adjustments that modify cell division and cell survival, cell migration patterns, axonal trajectories, dendritic arbors and neural circuits. These plastic adjustments result in the robust, reproducible formation of the nervous system across individuals, and over evolutionary time, and enable the changes taking place throughout life, such as during learning and memory. Conversely, these cell interactions fail in diseases of the nervous system (e.g. neurodegeneration, psychiatric disorders and brain tumours) and upon injury (e.g. upon spinal cord injury and stroke). We use the fruit-fly Drosophila because it is a very powerful model organism to address questions swiftly, in vivo and with single cell resolution, whilst it does not raise ethical concerns. This project will use a combination of genetics, molecular biology, cell culture, biochemistry, computational analysis, in vivo confocal microscopy in fixed specimens and in time-lapse, optogenetics, calcium imaging and behaviour. Applications are welcome.

Funding Notes

The School has some studentships. Nevertheless, all applicants should indicate in their applications how they intend to fund their studies. We have a thriving community of international PhD students and encourage applications at any time from students able to find their own funding or who wish to apply for their own funding (e.g. Commonwealth Scholarship, Islamic Development Bank).

The postgraduate funding database provides further information on funding opportunities available and further information is also available on the School of Biosciences website

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 42.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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