Connecting European Neuroscience

Ph.D. Student in St. Andrews/UK

17 July 2019

Ph.D. Student in St. Andrews/UK

Job ID
St. Andrews/UK


Applying super-resolution imaging techniques to elucidate the extracellular trafficking of protein aggregates in the brain and their direct role in early neurodegeneration:

Small aggregates of misfolded proteins are thought to be the main cause for synaptic loss and neuronal death in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases. A large fraction of these aggregates (particularly in the case of amyloid beta) are present in the extracellular space, which despite being almost 20% of the brain volume, is relatively unexplored due to the lack of techniques that can work at the right spatial resolution in physiological conditions. Taking advantage of the techniques we have recently developed with colleagues at the University of Bordeaux and at the University of Cambridge, the PhD project aims to study the way protein aggregates circulate this narrow and convoluted space. The student will use single-molecule fluorescence microscopy techniques and super-resolution imaging to characterise the trafficking of these protein aggregates. Furthermore, the student will investigate which is the direct toxic effect of protein aggregates, in particular studying how amyloid-beta aggregates and alpha-synuclein aggregates interact with their putative receptors. Characterising the trafficking of aggregates and how they interact with receptors at the nanoscale will have deep consequences in the way we understand the spreading of neurodegeneration along the brain.

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD student with a strong background in either physical or biological sciences, willing to work in an interdisciplinary environment studying the brain at the single-molecule level. Experience in biophysics and/or neurosciences will be advantageous.

This position is fully funded (for 3.5 years) through the ERC Starting Grant “BrainNanoFlow” for UK and European applicants. We regret that we cannot fund candidates from other countries.

Job Information

Closing date:
Employment start date:
Contract length:
3.5 years
University of St Andrews
School of Biology

Contact Information

Juan Varela
School of Biology
University of St. Andrews
Medical and Biological Sciences Building
North Haugh
Fife, Scotland
United Kingdom

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