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An integrated approach to the study of cellular interactions with amyloid in neurodegenerative disease

PGR-P-436

Key facts

Type of research degree
PhD
Application deadline
Monday 1 June 2020
Project start date
Thursday 1 October 2020
Country eligibility
UK and EU
Funding
Competition funded
Source of funding
University of Leeds
Supervisors
Dr Eric Hewitt
Additional supervisors
Professor Sheena Radford
Schools
School of Molecular and Cellular Biology
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The formation of insoluble amyloid fibrils is associated with a spectrum of human disorders, the amyloidoses, which include Alzheimer&rsquo;s, Parkinson&rsquo;s, type 2 diabetes and dialysis related amyloidosis (DRA). In these disorders the formation of amyloid fibrils is associated with cellular dysfunction and tissue destruction. Yet despite decades of research the culprit species and mechanisms of amyloid toxicity remain poorly understood.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>Our goal is to determine how the structure and physical properties of amyloid affects cellular physiology and viability. This involves a multidisciplinary approach in which information obtained by NMR, atomic force microscopy, electron microscopy, photo-crosslinking, mass spectrometry and fluorescence based spectroscopic techniques is integrated with analyses of cell function and viability. We are studying the oligomeric assembly intermediates, fibrils and fibril-derived oligomers formed by an array of amyloidogenic precursors, including &alpha;-synuclein (Parkinson&rsquo;s), amyloid-&beta; (Alzheimer&rsquo;s) and &beta;2-microglobulin (DRA). Experimental approaches used to analyse the interactions and effects of these amyloid species on cells include plate-based assays for cell viability and metabolism, live cell confocal microscopy microscopy, flow cytometry, subcellular fractionation and proteomics. In addition, we are exploring approaches for the delivery of amyloid aggregates into the cytoplasm of single cells with colleagues in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.leeds.ac.uk/rsa/prospective_students/apply/I_want_to_apply.html">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &ldquo;An integrated approach to the study of cellular interactions with amyloid in neurodegenerative disease&rdquo; as well as&nbsp;<a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/molecular-and-cellular-biology/staff/84/dr-eric-hewitt">Dr Eric Hewitt</a> as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>Candidates are encouraged to apply to the Emma and Leslie Reid Research Scholarship</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information please contact the Graduate School Office<br /> e: <a href="mailto:EMAIL@leeds.ac.uk">e.w.hewitt@leeds.ac.uk</a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 3030.</p>


<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>
<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>