Defining molecular pathways of T cell-mediated oligodendrocyte differentiation and remyelination
In the CNS myelin insulates axons and provides metabolic support and protection. Myelin is produced by oligodendrocytes and is regenerated (remyelination) by these cells. Mature oligodendrocytes cells arise from oligodendrocyte progenitor cells that require cues to differentiate and produce myelin. Recently, an emerging role of immune signaling in promoting remyelination has gained significant attention. We have discovered that subsets of T cells promote remyelination by enhancing OPC differentiation to oligodendrocytes revealing a completely new role for T cells in the CNS and a novel source of differentiation cues for OPC. However, we have no knowledge of the intracellular signaling in OPC that is triggered by T cells to induce differentiation. This PhD project forms part of a programme of work to address this gap in knowledge which will be accomplished by a range of approaches including transcriptomics, phosphoflow and proteomics. The central focus of the PhD student in this team will be investigating functions of identified molecular targets in oligodendrocyte differentiation, myelination and remyelination using in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo models. These studies will provide new knowledge of neuroimmunological crosstalk in the CNS and potential novel therapeutic targets in Multiple Sclerosis and other demyelinating and neurodegenerative diseases.
Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant biomedical or life sciences subject.
Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.
The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:
• IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;
• TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);
• A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;
• A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or
• A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.
For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:
The English Language Unit (ELU) offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained from the ELU http://www.qub.ac.uk/tefl/
BBSRC & DEL Research Studentships
Eligibility for both fees and maintenance (£14,057 for 2015/16, 2016/17 TBC) depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK resident or those EU residents who have lived permanently in the UK for the 3 years immediately preceding the start of the studentship.
Non UK residents who hold EU residency may also apply but if successful may receive fees only.
For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) please click on the following link: http://www.delni.gov.uk/index/further-and-higher-education/higher-education/studentfinance/he-student-info-postgrad-finance.htm
Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Infection and Immunity, website for further details about the Centre:
When applying, please choose 'MEDICINE' as your subject area/School.