BBSRC: MRes and PhD Studentship The Neural Basis of Addiction: Development of the Honeybee as a Model System

Reference Code: IN066

Closing Date: 28th January 2014


Name of the Supervisors
Dr G Wright, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University
Dr F LeBeau, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University
Dr M Palmer, University of Dundee

This studentship is sponsored by the the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) as part of the Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP).

Duration of the Award
Four years (One-year MRes, Biosciences and three-year PhD).

Project Description
Recent research in the Wright laboratory at Newcastle University has established that honeybees find nectar containing caffeine more rewarding when they consume it during associative learning (Wright et al., 2013. Science 339:1202-1204).

This studentship will examine how caffeine and nicotine influence the neural mechanisms underlying the honeybee’s attraction to food sources containing these drugs. Part of the PhD will develop the bee as a model for addiction using behavioural techniques for assessing food choice and decision making. The second part of the PhD will focus on recording from neurons that play a central role in reward, learning, and memory (the Kenyon cells) in the honeybee’s brain during perfusion with drugs. The student will use a combination of techniques that include patch clamp electrophysiology, pharmacology, and behaviour to identify whether the molecular mechanisms involved in addiction in mammalian models are shared by honeybees.

Value of the Award and Eligibility
Depending on how you meet the BBSRC’s eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award. A full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of £13,726 (2013/14). A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

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Person Specification
Candidates should have or expect to achieve a first-class or upper-second-class Honours degree in biological or physical sciences. Experience with electrophysiology is desirable.

How to Apply
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application form selecting ‘Master of Research/Doctor of Philosophy (Medical Sciences) – neuroscience’ as the programme of study. Once you have selected the programme, please insert the studentship/partnership reference number IN066. Only mandatory fields need to be completed (no personal statement required) but you must attach a copy of your CV and a covering letter, quoting the title of the studentship and reference number IN066.

Closing Date for Applications
Please apply as soon as possible. Applications received before the 28 January 2014 will be given priority consideration. Interviews will be held in March 2014.

Further Information
For further details, please contact:
Helen Stewart

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