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The role of FcgRIIb in alpha-synuclein toxicity and propagation through the brain

  • Full or part time
    Dr A Roghanian
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, March 10, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Lead Institute / Faculty: University of Southampton, Medicine

Main Supervisor: Dr Ali Roghanian

Other members of the supervisory team: Prof Jessica Teeling

Duration of the award: 48 months

Full time or part time: FT

Project description:
People with Parkinson’s disease (PD) have aggregates of misfolded alpha-synuclein (aSN) in their brains which are believed to kill brain cells (neurons). As PD progresses, these clumps of aSN spread through the brain, causing damage to neurons, and eventually clinical symptoms. The underlying mechanism by which neurons take up misfolded aSN is not fully understood and may require a specific receptor. One of these receptors is believed to be the inhibitory FcgRIIb. To study the underlying mechanisms by which misfolded aSN spreads through the brain, we will use neuronal cultures that form a mini-network. To study the role of FcgRIIb, we will use in-house generated antibodies, which will be further engineered for optimised function. In the next stage, we will use an experimental model of PD to study the spread of aSN across the brain in vivo. Brain tissues will be analysed for neuropathology and inflammation and correlated to behavioural changes. The role of FcgRIIb will also be tested in mice lacking FcgRIIb and by administering blocking antibodies. The results of this PhD project can lead to further understanding of the biological pathways that cause neuronal damage in PD and pave the way to a novel type of treatment that prevents or halts this devastating disease.

Please contact: Dr Ali Roghanian () and Prof Jessica Teeling ()

Person Specification:
This PhD studentship is a collaborative project at The University of Southampton, combining immunology, antibody biology/engineering, biochemistry and neuroscience. We are looking for a highly motivated candidate who will benefit from training in a range of molecular, cellular, biochemical, in vitro and in vivo techniques.
The successful candidate is likely to have the following qualifications:
• A 1stor 2:1 degree in a relevant discipline and/or second degree with a related Masters

Administrative contact and how to apply:
Please complete the University’s online application form, which you can find at

You should enter Dr Ali Roghanian as your proposed supervisor. To support your application provide an academic CV (including contact details of two referees), official academic transcripts and a personal statement (outlining your suitability for the studentship, what you hope to achieve from the PhD and your research experience to date).

Informal enquiries relating to the project or candidate suitability should be directed to Dr Ali Roghanian () and Prof Jessica Teeling ().

Closing date: 10 March 2019
Interview date: 20 March 2019

Funding Notes

The project is funded for 4 years at the research council rate for UK applicants and funded for one year for EU applicants (currently approved for 2019/2020 for EU applicants, pending further approval thereafter). Applications are welcome from applicants who have or expect to obtain at least an upper second class degree in Biological Sciences or allied subjects

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