Competitive three year full time studentship in the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences
Research Title : Genetic contributions to speech and language disorders
Main supervisor Dr Dianne Newbury
Eligibility:Only open to UK/EU applicants (who must be permanently resident in UK/EU)
Start date: 19th September 2016
Bursary: £14057 pa for academic year 2016/17 & fees
Closing date: 21st February 2016
Applicants should be of the highest quality and capable of submitting a PhD thesis within 3 years. Requirement a good Honours degree (2.1 or equivalent).
EU applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate minimum score level 6 in each of the four areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking with overall minimum score 7.0 issued since the 23rd April 2015 by an approved test centre please see web site below. Or an undergraduate degree awarded by a recognised UK university within the last two years.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a deficit in the perception of speech sounds, especially in background noise, despite normal hearing and auditory function (Moore et al. 2013). Individuals affected by APD often require the repetition of information and struggle to interact in noisy group activities which impacts upon school achievement. Effective auditory processing is important for language acquisition and APD is often associated with speech and language disorders (SLD), developmental and learning difficulties (Moore et al. 2013). Nonetheless, it is still a matter of debate whether APD represents a sub-clinical hearing deficit, a processing difficulty within the central auditory pathway or a symptom of another disorder (e.g. attention).
We have recently completed exome sequencing and SNP genotyping of a family affected by APD and have identified coding variants in several genes that are related to hearing and central auditory processes. The primary aim of this project is to evaluate the relevance of these changes in relation to auditory processing. The project will involve bioinformatic analyses of existing datasets within this family and other families affected by auditory processing disorder, validation of candidate changes using lab techniques such as sequencing and quantitative PCR and investigation of candidate pathways using cellular models. This project provides opportunities for training in genomic and functional genetic assays in the laboratory. These will include the use of quantitative PCR, tissue culture and immunochemistry techniques, DNA sequence analysis and the use of associated bioinformatic packages.
This work will provide an essential link between identified changes in the genetic sequence and the functionality of genes. Evidence of altered gene function would not only provide further support for the observed association but would also indicate a mechanism by which auditory processing disorder may occur. This is an important step in the development of future studies and will further understanding regarding the mechanism of pathogenesis in language disorders (Newbury et al 2014).
As part of your training you will be required to assist in demonstrating on undergraduate practicals during semesters without further remuneration.
Further information on the project please contact Dr Dianne Newbury
e-mail address [email protected]
How to apply
Please complete the Application Form, which you can download from
With your application please enclose a CV and scanned copy of your degree certificates and transcripts and letter from awarding body plus two signed academic references. Additionally if appropriate a valid IELTS Academic test score certificate.
Please carefully note that applications only accepted by e-mail to the following address: [email protected]
YOU MUST NOT SENT ANY QUERIES, APPLICATION, CV, OR OTHER DOCUMENTATION VIA FINDAPHD