PhD Studentship in Neuroscience

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Amar Annamalai
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PhD Studentship in Neuroscience

PhD Studentship in Neuroscience & Animal Welfare - Using Proxy Measures of a Depressive-like State to Assess the Impact of Pre-clinical Models of Chronic Diseases on the Welfare of Mice

Newcastle University

Qualification type:


Funding for:
UK Students

Funding amount:

Full Time

Placed on:
28th January 2015

15th March 2015


3-year PhD studentship, starting on 28th September 2015. A full award covers tuition fees at the UK rate and an annual stipend at RCUK rates (£13,863 for 2014/15).


The National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs)

Project Description

Animal models are an invaluable tool to better understand disease progression and therapies for many chronic diseases. However, the impact of these studies on the welfare of the laboratory animals should be minimized as much as possible. Measuring impact of chronic treatments is difficult, though. We take our inspiration from research into mood disorders, which are often the outcome of chronically stressful conditions. In animal models of depression, the addition of new neurons in the hippocampus is suppressed.

In this project, you will quantify the number of new neurons in the hippocampus of mice as an integrative proxy measure of the cumulative stresses animals in chronic disease studies (cancer and liver disease) have experienced in their lifetime. This will allow us to identify methods for reducing the chronic stress (e.g. pain relief or choice of an alternative disease induction model) in these animals, and therefore refine the procedures used in the study of chronic diseases.

You will learn a range of neuroanatomical and molecular biology techniques, as well as careful experimental design and data analysis. You will be trained in applying the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) in animal research and in quantifying the outcomes of interventions.

Name of the Supervisor(s)

Dr T Smulders – Institute of Neuroscience
Dr T Boswell – School of Biology
Dr J Roughan – Institute of Neuroscience

Person Specification and Eligibility Criteria


- 1st-class or upper 2nd-class degree (or equivalent) in any Biological Sciences and related disciplines
- Settled status in the UK (i.e. no restrictions on how long you can stay) and having been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the studentship
- Self-motivated with a strong work ethic.


- Master’s degree in a relevant discipline
- Excellent experimental design and statistical skills
- Experience with molecular biology and/or neurobiology

How to Apply

Applications must be made using the University’s online application form. Only mandatory fields need to be completed.

However, you will need to include the following information:
- insert the programme code 8300F in the programme of study section
- select ‘ Doctor of Philosophy (Medical Sciences) - Neuroscience as the programme of study
- insert the studentship code IN085 in the studentship/partnership reference field 
- attach a covering letter and  CV.  The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference codeIN085 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project 
- attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.

Further Information

For further details, please contact: Tom Smulders (