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  Understanding compartmentalized intracellular signaling in somatosensory neurons

   Faculty of Biological Sciences

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  Prof N Gamper, Dr J D Lippiat  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Somatosensory system processes stimuli related to sensations of touch, temperature, body position, pain and itch. Peripheral somatosensory nerves contain various molecular sensors that respond to specific external events (like touching a hot object) and a single nerve usually possesses a range of different sensors. A major puzzle in the field of sensory physiology is how different types of signals are specifically interpreted by a single sensory neuron. This proposal is part of our efforts to solve this puzzle.

Our hypothesis is that different signalling mechanisms are ‘packed’ in isolated ‘nanodomains’ within a neuron, allowing it to use common signalling events and messenger molecules to generate specific responses to various stimuli. Here we will focus on one specific aspect – neuronal response to inflammation, which often results in pain sensation.

We identified a specific structure formed at junctions between the plasma membrane (PM) and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), where several pro-inflammatory receptors and ion channels are clustered together in signaling nanodomains. Our project aims to elucidate mechanisms and molecules involved in formation and function of ER-PM junctions with an ultimate goal of learning how to disturb this pathway and separate inflammation from pain.


You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper-second class honours degree or a MSc degree in a relevant subject.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Biological Sciences minimum requirements in IELTS and TOEFL tests are:

  • British Council IELTS - score of 6.0 overall, with no element less than 5.5
  • TOEFL iBT - overall score of 87 with the listening and reading element no less than 20, writing element no less than 21 and the speaking element no less than 22.

How to apply:

To apply for this project applicants should complete an online application form and attach the following documentation to support their application. 

  • a full academic CV
  • degree certificate and transcripts of marks
  • Evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (if applicable).

To help us identify that you are applying for this studentship please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;

  • Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
  • When asked for source of funding please make it clear that you are applying for a "White Rose BBSRC DTP Studentship"
  • Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert. You can be considered for up to 3 projects in total.

If you have any further queries regarding this opportunity, please contact [Email Address Removed]

Biological Sciences (4)

Funding Notes

This opportunity is funded by the White Rose BBSRC DTP and will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £17,668 (based on the 2022/23 rate). The award will also cover academic fees. This opportunity is available to UK and International fee rated applicants. Please note that any expenses related to the relocation of international students to the UK (visa, insurance, NHS fees, flights, etc) would be their responsibility and are not covered by this award.

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