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The role of FcRIIb in Parkinson’s Disease

   Biological Sciences

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  Prof J Teeling, Dr P Williamson  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Southampton United Kingdom Biochemistry Immunology Neuroscience Structural Biology

About the Project

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, which eventually causes clinical symptoms. The underlying mechanism by which neurons take up misfolded 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 specifc aSN conformers and FcRIIb, including Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). The student will use neuronal cultures to study the underlying mechanism by which aSN spreads from neuron to neuron, using neurons derived from wild type or mice lacking FcRIIb. Finally the role of FcRIIb in the spread of aSN in vivo will be studied in an experimental mouse model of PD. 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 structural biology, immunology, 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.

Funding Notes

The project is funded for 3 years and welcomes applicants from the UK and EU 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 research council rates of £15,285 per annum for 2020/21 due to rise for 2021/22
Due to funding restrictions this position is only open to UK/EU applicants.


Applications for a PhD in Biological Sciences should be submitted online at: Please place name in the field of proposed supervisor
General enquiries should be made to Professor Jessica Teeling ( or Dr Philip Wiliamson (
Any queries on the application process should be made to
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 the School of Biological Sciences both hold an Athena Swan Silver Award, 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.
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