PhD studentship Neuronal ageing in the gut of model organisms

PhD studentship to start in January 2014 (or earlier if possible)

Faculty of Science

Based in Milton Keynes 

We already have three new PhD students starting in the Department in October 2013 and have now secured funding for another four studentships. 

The three-year research studentships provide a maintenance grant of £13,726 per year (2013 rate) and all academic fees are covered. 

The department has a thriving postgraduate community and the postgraduate training programme provides a full range of courses covering: research techniques, scientific methods, information technology, communication and interpersonal skills, which are tailored to the needs of each student.

Project Title: Neuronal ageing in the gut of model organisms
Project Supervisors: M.Jill Saffrey, Mike Stewart, Mark Hirst (Open University)

Gastrointestinal dysfunction is a common cause of age-associated morbidity, and seriously affects the quality of life of many elderly individuals. Gastrointestinal functions depend upon the activity of many different kinds of cells, including neurones, smooth muscle cells and intestinal epithelial cells. We are characterising age-associated changes in the different cell types of the gut of ageing model organisms including the mouse using a range of approaches. This project will focus on analysis of neuronal changes; the intrinsic neurones of the gut play a key role in regulation of gut functions and our previous work indicates that they undergo degenerative changes and exhibit a senescence-associated phenotype in ageing mice. The aims of this work are to investigate the nature of, and also the mechanisms that underlie these changes in detail, using a range of techniques including immunolabelling, confocal and electron microscopy. Applicants should have a good first degree in biology, cell biology, neuroscience or a related subject and be keen to contribute to research into neuronal ageing. Practical experience in cell biology and/or microscopy would be an advantage, but not essential. The project will start as soon as possible after October 1st 2013.

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For informal enquiries about this project, please contact Dr M.Jill Saffrey, Department of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences at The Open University by email on 

Please send an email/letter stating the project you are interested in, your CV and a completed application form, to be found here: to the following mailbox: by Friday, October 18th or by post to the Research Co-ordinator, Science Deanery, K Block, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA.

Shortlisting will take place during the week of October 21st with the interviews following during the week of November 4th.

Closing Date: October 18th, 2013

To apply, please click the Apply button below.

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