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Using nuclear imaging techniques to enhance understanding of dementia

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, June 30, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

UCL Chemistry Department is offering a fully funded studentship to a highly motivated candidate to start in 14 September 2020.

Project summary:
Neuroinflammation is increasingly recognised as pathological hallmark of the dementias. Occurring many years before clinical symptoms become apparent, the neuroinflammatory processes are hypothesised to play a key role in triggering and driving the disease. As part of the PhD project, you will assess the interplay of neuroinflammatory processes, synaptic plasticity and protein aggregation in the dementias, using nuclear imaging techniques. This will not only enhance our understanding about dementia disease mechanisms, but also assess the suitability of different imaging tools for clinical routine applications (diagnosis, monitoring of disease progression etc.).
In this project, you will apply newly developed chemistry to address unmet medical questions. Taking advantage of a novel platform technique for radiolabelling of small molecules with fluorine-18, you will develop the synthesis of radioactive ligands binding to biological targets that promote neuroinflammation. Using different preclinical imaging techniques, both in human brain tissue and in animal models of dementia, you will assess the binding profiles of the different radioligands. The results are expected to guide future clinical studies as well as to provide novel insights in the mechanisms associated with the development of dementia.
The successful candidate will have the unique opportunity to work across disciplines and to develop skills in medicinal chemistry, radiochemistry, and translational imaging.

The applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second class Honours degree or equivalent in Organic Chemistry or Natural Sciences with specialisation in Organic Chemistry.
Interested candidates should initially contact Dr Kerstin Sander () with a degree transcript and a motivation letter expressing interest in this project. Informal inquiries are encouraged. Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form at Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac ().

Applications will be accepted until 30 June 2020 but the position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate has been identified.

Funding Notes

Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is only open to applicants from the UK and EU, who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years preceding their start on the programme or have indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

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