Molecular re-awakening of brain's quiescent stem cells to counteract ageing (HAJIHOSSEINI_U18DTP)

University of East Anglia
October 04 2017
Life Sciences, Biology
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Healthy ageing of the adult mammalian brain is compromised by its inability to replace neurons that are lost to ‘wear and tear' or genetically-driven neurodegenerative processes. Recent discoveries, however, show that diverse areas of the adult mammalian brain may harbour stem/ progenitor cells, but these are largely kept asleep or in a slow dividing state. Re-wakening these cells may offer a tool for neuronal replenishment of the aged brain. Work from our laboratory suggests that distinct members of the Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family are expressed by and act within these stem cells themselves, to possibly induce a state of dormancy. For this project, we seek a highly-motivated and ambitious student to investigate the molecular interactions through which FGFs operate to induce this dormancy. Both in vivo and in vitro approaches will be used. The investigations include: (i) measuring how slow these stem/progenitors divide in vivo and whether taking the cells out of their normal environment or altering the levels of FGF function enhances their division and production of new neurons; (ii) identifying the proteins that interact with FGF within cells to regulate a state of dormancy, and (iii) validating the nature of the interactions between FGF and the identified candidates.

The student will join a dynamic team of neuroscientists and become trained in a host of cellular and molecular techniques ranging from tissue sectioning, immunolabelling and high-resolution image capture/analysis, to gene cloning, in situ hybridization, proteomics and bioinformatics. The student will also acquire a strong personal and professional development portfolio, in preparation for a research career.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 9th, 10th or 11th January 2018.

The Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4 year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Funding notes

Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,553pa - 2017/8), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate, and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships, which when combined will equal a full studentship. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements. Details on eligibility for funding on the BBSRC website:

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess

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