Deadline: 2016-01-15
Value of Scholarship: London
Level Of Study: PhD

TRP channel control of pain and analgesia

To start

1 fully funded 4 year MRC Industrial CASE PhD studentship

Chronic pain affects up to 20% of the population, but current therapies are either ineffective or produce intolerable side effects in many patients. An improved understanding of the mechanisms underpinning pain to aid the development of improved therapeutic agents is therefore urgent.

We have demonstrated that the ion channel TRPA1 (the mustard/wasabi receptor) is of central importance for pain and for the ability of animals to respond to cold and touch.  During this studentship, the mechanisms by which TRPA1 controls pain will be elucidated using electrophysiological, behavioural and molecular techniques. Our pilot data suggest that TRPA1 acts through transcriptional changes, rather than by simply acting as a receptor for mechanical or cold stimulation.

In year one, the student will use a skin-nerve preparation to explore whether the behavioural phenotype of TRPA1 knockout mice in vivo can be translated to an isolated tissue preparation.

In years 2 and 3, the student will study the molecular profiles of isolated sensory neurons from wildtype and TRPA1 knockout mice and their sensitivities to cold and mechanical stimulation using Ca2+-imaging and patch-clamp methods.

In year 3 the student will examine if TRPA1 plays a modulatory role in synaptic transmission. The student will study spinal cord slices electrophysiologically in the industrial partner Eli Lilly’s laboratories, to determine whether TRPA1 controls pain via spinal mechanisms.

We anticipate that additional lines of investigation will be encountered during the course of the project and that year 4 will be spent completing studies, writing manuscripts, thesis and fellowship applications. The student will be encouraged to present her/his findings to national and international meetings.

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Dr. David Andersson and Prof Stuart Bevan, Wolfson CARD, King’s College London and Dr. Lisa Broad, Eli Lilly & Co.

Entry requirements
Applicants should have (or be expected to obtain) a 2:1 or 1st class honours degree in a subject relevant to the proposed project.  If applicants already possess (or expect to obtain) a research-based MSc degree, a merit or distinction level is required. 

Award types and eligibility
The studentship will pay Home/EU tuition fees and provides a stipend of £19,057.

Further information
About the IoPPN (link to

Studying at the IoPPN (link to

Research degrees at the IoPPN (link to

KCL Researcher Development Programme (link to

How to apply
Applicants should send a full CV and covering letter explaining why you are applying for this studentship, and contact details of at least two academic referees to Ms Brenda Williams at by the closing date of 15th of January, 2016. Interviews will be held between the 25th and 29th of January, 2016. Reference DA-IoPPN-MRC-16

Interviews will be held between the 25th and 29th of January, 2016.

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