Self-funded PhD opportunities

Expression and roles of Tensin proteins in the mouse brain.

  • Application end date: Applications accepted all year round
  • Funding Availability: Self-funded PhD students only
  • Department: School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr. Sassan Hafizi and Dr. Jerome Swinny

The Tensin family of intracellular proteins, composed of four homologous members, are thought to regulate the cytoskeleton and thereby cell shape and motility. Although it is known that some Tensins are expressed in the brain, no knowledge currently exists as to their specific expression profiles in the brain, nor what functional roles they may play in the central nervous system. The aims of this PhD project are to analyse in detail the expression of Tensins throughout the mouse brain and through mouse brain development, and especially to delineate the particular cell populations in which Tensins are expressed.

The student will learn a variety of laboratory techniques including brain tissue fixation and sectioning, immunofluorescent staining and confocal microscopy, SDS-PAGE and western blotting and PCR-based techniques. Initial experiments will involve analysing Tensin expression in various adult brain regions using immunofluorescent staining; this will be coupled with similar analyses in the developing mouse brain. There will also be an opportunity to study the effects of Tensin overexpression or downregulation in cultured neuronal and glial cell cultures, to gain an insight into the cellular signalling roles of Tensins. The results obtained from this project will shed new light on the expression and role of Tensins in the brain, something hitherto unknown. This may open new avenues of further research into the involvement of these proteins in central nervous system cellular architecture and brain physiology. Furthermore, it will provide a valuable research experience for the student within the fields of neuroscience and cell biology and signalling.

In addition you will have access to a skills development program run by the university’s Graduate School. The experimental and analytical skills developed during this project will prepare the student well for a future career in academia or industry.

Research Group Web Site http://www.port.ac.uk/school-of-pharmacy-and-biomedical-sciences/research/

Funding Status: Self funded - University fees (currently, £13,100 for International Students and £4,052 for Home and EU students) + (plus additional bench fees of £6,000 per annum).

Search terms: Neuroscience, brain, CNS, cytoskeleton, cell signalling, cell biology, in vitro culture.

Click here to apply.