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When do astrocytes contribute to the control of brain blood flow?

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  • Full or part time
    Dr C Howarth
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

In order that the brain can function normally, it is essential that blood flow within the brain is well matched to neuronal metabolic demand. When neurons are active they send a message to the local vasculature to increase blood flow (a phenomenon called neurovascular coupling) and so increase the supply of nutrients: glucose and oxygen. This increase in blood flow and blood volume is the basis of non-invasive functional imaging signals such as BOLD fMRI. Understanding how different cells are involved in neurovascular coupling is important not only for understanding what functional imaging signals can tell us about the brain but also for helping us to understand what goes wrong in diseases where neurovascular coupling is altered. We will investigate which cells are involved in controlling brain blood flow under various conditions (e.g. in response to increased neuronal activity, in response to a physiological stimulus). Of particular interest are astrocytes, a supporting cell within the brain. Although astrocytes have been shown to modify the diameter of cerebral arterioles, their role in the regulation of brain blood flow in response to neuronal activity remains controversial.

Funding Notes

This is one of many projects in competition for the current funding opportunities available within the Department of Psychology. Please see here for full details: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/psychology/prospectivepg/funding
Overseas students are welcome to apply for funding but must be able to demonstrate that they can fund the difference in the tuition fees.
Requirements: We ask for a minimum of a first class or high upper second-class undergraduate honours degree and a distinction or high merit at Masters level in psychology or a related discipline.

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.45

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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