Understanding the neurobiology of schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a very common psychiatric disorder for which we do not know the underlying causes or have adequate treatments for the symptoms. My group exposes rats to early-life interventions, such as neonatal exposure to viral mimetics and isolation in separate cages during adolescence to produce long-term changes in behaviour, neurochemistry and brain morphology which resemble some of the core features seen schizophrenia.
This project will investigate the impact of these early-life interventions on marker of inflammation (microglial activation and cytokine levels) and changes in neurotransmitters (dopamine, GABA and glutamate measured by microdialysis and magnetic resonance spectroscopy) in the brain and behavioural performance in a variety of learning and memory tasks (using visual touch screens, conditioned associative learning and food motivated attentional relearning tasks) to gain a better understanding of the role on inflammation in the cause of schizophrenia. Secondly, novel potential therapeutics which modify the immune response will be administered during development to attempt to prevent the neurochemical and behavioural changes produced by these early-life interventions.
The University of Nottingham is one of the world’s most respected research-intensive universities, ranked 8th in the UK for research power (REF 2014). Students studying in the School of Life Sciences will have the opportunity to thrive in a vibrant, multidisciplinary environment, with expert supervision from leaders in their field, state-of-the-art facilities and strong links with industry. Students are closely monitored in terms of their personal and professional progression throughout their study period and are assigned academic mentors in addition to their supervisory team. The School provides structured training as a fundamental part of postgraduate personal development and our training programme enables students to develop skills across the four domains of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF). During their studies, students will also have the opportunity to attend and present at conferences around the world. The School puts strong emphasis on the promotion of postgraduate research with a 2-day annual PhD research symposium attended by all students, plus academic staff and invited speakers.
Home applicants should contact the supervisor to determine the current funding status for this project. EU applicants should visit the Graduate School webpages for information on specific EU scholarships http://www.admin.findaphd.com/editproject.asp?projectid=75247. International applicants should visit our International Research Scholarships page for information regarding fees and funding at the University http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/studywithus/international-applicants/scholarships-fees-and-finance/index.aspx.
How good is research at University of Nottingham in Biological Sciences?
FTE Category A staff submitted: 90.86
Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)
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