PhD Studentship Glutamate release mechanisms in developing CNS


Full-time, 3 years
Ref: PUPSMD-0015


The Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine & Dentistry are seeking to attract PhD candidates of outstanding ability to join their exciting and rapidly expanding programme of internationally-rated research.


As part of our new developments i.e expanding the Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine & Dentistry and our commitment to research excellence, applications are invited from suitably qualified graduates, 2:1 or above, for a PhD Studentship. International students must also have score of 7.0 or above (or equivalent qualification).


Glutamate release is central to injury to both the mature and the developing CNS. A rapidly growing body of evidence indicates that immature central white matter is particularly sensitive to glutamate excitotoxicity. Over the course of this project you will determine the cellular mechanisms that link loss of blood supply, glutamate release and cell injury in this tissue. The findings will contribute to the ultimate development of effective interventions for infants at risk of the prevalent neurodevelopmental disorders cerebral palsy and neonatal stroke. Working closely with an expert post-doctoral fellow, you will have sole ownership of the project which will apply established biosensor technology to isolated white matter to correlate the release of glutamate and other biologically important molecules following the onset of modelled ischemia. Targeted genetic deletion and/or selective pharmacological strategies will be used to dissect the elements within this highly clinically significant event. Additional techniques such as electrophysiological recording, electron microscopy, confocal immuno-staining, PCR or live cell imaging may also be harnessed, as results dictate. An interest in basic and translational neuroscience is important, and a good degree in a biological subject. Full training in a number of major research techniques will be provided.

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Salter, M, & Fern R. (2005). Nature, 438: 1167-1171.
Alix, JJP. & Fern, R. (2009). Annals of Neurology 66: 682-693
Alix, JJP. Zammit, C. Riddle, A. Meshul, CK, Back, SA, Valentino, M, & Fern, R. (2012). Annals of Neurology, 72:936-51.


Closing date for applications: 30/09/2013 12:00 Noon Start date: 01/01/2014Â


To apply for this studentship please download an application form from the Apply button below and return it with a statement outlining your reasons for wanting to pursue this course and details of any other achievements or experience that will support your application. Also send copies of your qualifications, transcripts, two academic references and c.v. to: pupsmd‑ or Bernice Wilmshurst, Senior Administrator (Research Degrees), Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine & Dentistry, The John Bull Building, Tamar Science Park , Plymouth PL6 8BU


Telephone 01752 437471


For an informal discussion about the project, please contact: Professor Robert Fern (


Funding Notes:
The stipend will be £13,726 (based on full time 13/14 rate). Tuition fees will be paid at the home/EU rate. Candidates from developing countries outside the European Union will be liable for the difference between ‘home student fees’ and ‘international student fees€™. For the 13/14 academic year the difference in fee is £10,150. If you are selected you will be required to provide financial assurances.


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