Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

Genetic contributions to neurodevelopmental disorders

  • Project Title: Genetic contributions to neurodevelopmental disorders

    Director of Studies and main supervisor: Dr Dianne Newbury

    2nd supervisor: Prof Isabel Bermundez

    Whether Project is: Competition Funded Project (EU and UK students only)

    Application deadline: 3rd January 2019

    Project Description:

    Neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Intellectual Disability and Developmental Language Disorder are all known to have substantial and overlapping genetic risk contributions that, presumably, affect early brain development (Newbury, Monaco, Paracchini, 2014). Recent genomic and animal studies have generated converging evidence that implicates shared pathways in synaptic function across all of these disorders (Ali Rodriguez, Joya & Hines 2018).

    In this project, you will apply cutting-edge transcriptomic methods to identify gene expression networks that underlie these disorders. You will explore temporal and spatial gene expression patterns within the developing brain and combine these with high-throughput sequencing and genotype data to generate a multi-dimensional picture of early brain development. This work will provide an essential link between gene function and sequence and will help us to understand the synaptic processes that underlie brain development and neurodevelopmental disorders.

    This is a joint project supervised by Prof. Isabel Bermudez and Dr Dianne Newbury. Both groups have an established track record in studying synaptic receptors and gene function with a collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach. You will receive training in electrophysiological, cellular and molecular lab work as well as bioinformatic and statistical analysis methods.

    This three-year project will be funded by the Nigel Groome Scholarship which provides a bursary equivalent to RCUK national minimum stipend plus fees (2018/2019 bursary rate is £14,777). The scholarship is open to all Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU (or International by special exception). Work will be completed in the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Oxford Brookes University. Based at the Headington Campus, one mile East of Oxford City Centre, the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences offers a research-led, dynamic and supportive environment in which to study.

    Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
    Department of Biological and Medical Sciences
    Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU (or International by special exception)
    Duration: three years
    Start date: September 2019
    Value p.a.: Bursary equivalent to RCUK national minimum stipend plus fees (2018/19 bursary rate is £14,777)

    Please note only EU/UK nationals/permanent residents are eligible to apply for this studentship. Please do not apply if you are not a UK/EU national/permanent resident. If you are not sure if you are eligible please contact Research Administrator, hlsapplications@brookes.ac.uk.

    There is an additional requirement to undertake up to 6 hours undergraduate teaching/week during semesters and to participate in a teaching skills course without further remuneration.

    For further information contact Prof Isabel Bermundez (ibermundez@brookes.ac.uk).

    Applicants should have (or be expecting) a first class or upper second class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification in a computational or biological discipline. EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued since 1st September 2016 by an approved test centre. We are prepared to consider alternative acceptable evidence of English Language ability.

    How to apply:

    Completed application forms should be emailed to hlsapplications@brookes.ac.uk together with a CV.