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The role of FcgRIIb in Parkinson’s Disease

Project Description

People with Parkinson’s disease (PD) have aggregates of misfolded alpha-synuclein (aSN) in their brains which are believed to play a key role in the disease. As PD progresses, these clumps of aSN spread through the brain from neuron to neuron, 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 specific receptors. One of these receptors is believed to be the inhibitory FcgRIIb. In this project, we will use a range of biochemical and biophysical approaches to study the interaction between aSN and FcgRIIb, including Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). The results will be compared to other misfolded proteins, which are generated in house. The student will then use neuronal cultures to study the underlying mechanism by which aSN spreads from neuron to neuron, using cells derived from wild type mice or mice lacking FcgRIIb. Finally, an experimental mouse model of PD will be used to study the role of FcRIIb in the spread of aSN in vivo. 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.

This PhD studentship is a collaborative project at the University of Southampton, combining immunology, antibody biology, biochemistry, structural biology 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.

Funding Notes

The project is funded for 3 years and welcomes applicants from the UK and EU (currently approved for 2019/2020, pending further approval thereafter) who have or expect to obtain at least an upper second class degree in Biological Sciences or allied subjects. Funding will cover fees and a stipend at current research council rates of £ 14,777 per annum for 2018/19. Subject to rise for 2019/20.

Due to funding restrictions this position is only open to UK/EU applicants.


Applications for an MPhil/PhD in Biological Sciences should be submitted online at: Please place Jessica Teeling in the field for proposed supervisor.

General enquiries should be made to Jessica Teeling at [email protected] Any queries on the application process should be made to [email protected]

Interviews will be held on 20 March 2019

Applications will be considered in the order that they are received, and the position will be considered filled when a suitable candidate has been identified.

The University of Southampton and Biological Sciences both hold an Athena Swan Silver Award, respectively, demonstrating their commitment to provide equal opportunities and to advance the representation of women in STEM/M subjects: science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Due consideration will be given to applicants who have taken a career break. University benefits include onsite childcare facilities, state-of-the-art on-campus sports, arts and culture facilities, a full programme of events and a range of staff discounts.

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.80

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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