PhD Studentship available for January 2014

Project title: Carrying a genetic risk for dementia: cognitive and neural signatures of the APOE e4 gene across the lifespan.

Supervisors: Prof Jennifer Rusted (School of Psychology, Sussex University) and Dr Naji Tabet (BSMS and Sussex Partnership Trust)

The e4 variant of the APOE gene increases susceptibility to dementia in older people. Our recent work, however, shows that even in young adulthood, e4 carriers recruit brain regions differently from their non-e4 peers when completing cognitive tasks. This activation in young adulthood may alter task performance and may impact on vulnerability to damage in later life. By exploring these effects in middle adulthood, we will better understand the mechanisms that underlie the cognitive and neural consequences of these differences in brain activations across the lifespan. This PhD programme will profile young – middle aged e4 carriers, including those with subjective memory impairment, to chart the trajectory of change in the cognitive and neural profiles in these at risk individuals. 

Applications are sought from graduates in Psychology or Neuroscience interested in cognitive ageing and dementia. The project will combine behavioural studies, cognitive profiling and some functional imaging. The student will gain experience in Sussex Partnership Trust (SPT) memory clinics, under the supervision of Dr Tabet.

Applications should be made by 5.00pm, on 31st October 2013. The award of the studentship will be based on a competitive process and is funded jointly be the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and SPT. If awarded, it would be a full-time studentship (funded for a duration of three years) covering tuition fee, and a maintenance allowance. The maintenance allowance is currently £13,726 per annum. There is an opportunity to contribute to teaching on a paid basis. 

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Eligibility requirements for potential candidates:

  • UK and EU candidates are eligible to apply. Candidates may not be eligible for the full award if they do not meet UK residency requirements
  • Candidates must have, or expect to obtain, a First or a high Upper Second Class Honours undergraduate degree, or equivalent qualification, and/or a Master’s degree in Psychology or a related discipline.

Guidance for applicants:

  • Please send your initial enquires by email for the attention of ‘Postgraduate Coordinator’ to:
  • If you wish to discuss the details of this PhD project further, please contact Prof. Rusted:
  • Application procedures can be found via the ‘Apply’ button below.

Candidates should provide:

  • A research statement that briefly outlines our current state of knowledge, hypotheses that could be addressed, and an outline of potential methods. Your answer should not exceed 2 pages including references, be set at minimum 10 font type with margins a minimum of 1cm.
  • A teaching-related statement that addresses the normal expectation that you contribute to teaching of statistics and research methods (up to 300 words).
  • A current transcript with full details of performance on all completed courses.

To apply click on the ‘Apply’ button below.

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