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Understanding the link between healthy ageing and social interaction


   School of Biological Sciences


Reading United Kingdom Behavioural Biology Cell Biology Genetic Engineering Genetics Molecular Biology Neuroscience

About the Project

Project Overview: 

Healthy ageing is a priority research area since we are living longer than ever beforeInterestingly, stronger social interactions in humans are correlated with increased survival rate, while loneliness and lack of social interactions correlates with enhanced ageing and can increase risk of disease. The molecular mechanisms by which such behaviours act is unknown.  

The aim of this project is to understand how social behaviours can influence longevity and ageing-related disease progression. Nuclear receptors, that bind steroid ligands such as estrogen and testosterone, have been implicated in regulation of biologically important social behaviours, such as mating, parental care or intraspecies aggression. Interestingly, the estrogen receptors have been implicated in neuroprotection against stroke and dementia and shown to promote healthy ageing. In this project we will use the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans model and investigate how social behaviours driven by nuclear receptors impact ageing. C. elegans is an excellent model owing to its short lifespan, ease of genetic manipulation and the presence of a range of social behaviours such as social aggregation, starvation-induced collective behaviour, parental-offspring interactions and male-mating. Understanding the complex, potentially reciprocal regulation of ageing and social behaviour is important in devising medications that target signalling pathways involved in the progression of several age-related diseases. The student will learn and use genetic, cell biology, molecular and behavioural techniques in their studies and will be part of a vibrant endocrine group at the University of Reading. 

Kevei group 

The Kevei group is focusing on investigating ageing and ageing related diseases using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans model organism and cellular models. The research group is currently composed of 3-4 PhD students and post-doctoral scientists, plus masters and undergraduate students, and is embedded in the collaborative research environment of the University of Reading. 

Vasudevan group 

The Vasudevan group, currently, consisting of 5 PhD students, works on multidisciplinary projects at the University of Reading, ranging from oscillations in biology to neuroendocrine regulation in the brain and behaviour. 

School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading:  

The University of Reading, located west of London, England, provides world-class research education programs. The University’s main Whiteknights Campus is set in 130 hectares of beautiful parkland, a 30-minute train ride to central London and 40 minutes from London Heathrow airport.   

Our School conducts high-impact research, tackling current global challenges faced by society and the planet. Our research ranges from understanding and improving human health and combating disease, through to understanding evolutionary processes and uncovering new ways to protect the natural world. In 2020, we moved into a stunning new ~£60 million Health & Life Sciences building. This state-of-the-art facility is purpose-built for science research and teaching. It houses the Cole Museum of Zoology, a café and social spaces. 

In the School of Biological Sciences, you will be joining a vibrant community of ~180 PhD students representing ~40 nationalities. Our students publish in high-impact journals, present at international conferences, and organise a range of exciting outreach and public engagement activities. 

During your PhD at the University of Reading, you will expand your research knowledge and skills, receiving supervision in one-to-one and small group sessions. You will have access to cutting-edge technology and learn the latest research techniques. We also provide dedicated training in important transferable skills that will support your career aspirations. If English is not your first language, the University's excellent International Study and Language Institute will help you develop your academic English skills. 

The University of Reading is a welcoming community for people of all faiths and cultures. We are committed to a healthy work-life balance and will work to ensure that you are supported personally and academically. 

Eligibility: 

Applicants should have a minimum of a UK Upper Second (2:1) undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in biology or a strongly-related discipline. Applicants will also need to meet the University’s English Language requirements. We offer pre-sessional courses that can help with meeting these requirements. 

How to apply: 

Submit an application for a PhD in Biomedical Sciences to http://www.reading.ac.uk/pgapply

Further information: 

http://www.reading.ac.uk/biologicalsciences/SchoolofBiologicalSciences/PhD/sbs-phd.aspx 

Enquiries: 

Dr. Eva Kevei, email:  

Please see Dr Kevei’s profile: 

Dr Eva Kevei – University of Reading 


Funding Notes

We welcome applications from self-funded students worldwide for this project.
If you are applying to an international funding scheme, we encourage you to get in contact as we may be able to support you in your application.

References

References
Herzog LK, Kevei É, Marchante R, Böttcher C, Bindesbøll C, Lystad AH, Pfeiffer A, Gierisch ME, Salomons FA, Simonsen A, Hoppe T, Dantuma NP. The Machado-Joseph disease deubiquitylase ataxin-3 interacts with LC3C/GABARAP and promotes autophagy. Aging Cell. 2020 Jan;19(1):e13051.
Franz, A., E. Kevei and T. Hoppe. ""Double-Edged Alliance: Mitochondrial Surveillance by the Ups and Autophagy."" Curr Opin Cell Biol 37, (2015): 18-27.
Kevei, E. & Hoppe, T. (2014) Ubiquitin sets the timer: impacts on aging and longevity, Nature structural & molecular biology. 21, 290-2.
Tawo, R., Pokrzywa, W., Kevei, E., Akyuz, M. E., Balaji, V., Adrian, S., Hohfeld, J. & Hoppe, T. (2017) The Ubiquitin Ligase CHIP Integrates Proteostasis and Aging by Regulation of Insulin Receptor Turnover, Cell. 169, 470-482 e13.
Hadjimarkou, M. M. and N. Vasudevan. ""Gper1/Gpr30 in the Brain: Crosstalk with Classical Estrogen Receptors and Implications for Behavior."" J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 176, (2018): 57-64.
Rainville, J., K. Pollard and N. Vasudevan. ""Membrane-Initiated Non-Genomic Signaling by Estrogens in the Hypothalamus: Cross-Talk with Glucocorticoids with Implications for Behavior."" Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) 6, (2015): 18.
Anchan, D., A. Gafur, K. Sano, S. Ogawa and N. Vasudevan. ""Activation of the Gpr30 Receptor Promotes Lordosis in Female Mice."" Neuroendocrinology 100, no. 1 (2014): 71-80

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