PhD Studentship: Mapping central pathways critical for survival

University of Bristol - School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience and School of Veterinary Sciences

Salary/stipend Four year studentship at standard BBSRC stipend rate (currently £14,296/annum for entry in Oct 2016)

The project: Understanding the anatomy and physiology of central survival circuits is an essential prerequisite to determining the neurobiological basis of emotional disorders. The neural network underpinning survival behaviours includes the amygdala and midbrain periaqueductal grey (PAG) which generate defensive responses to aversive or fearful stimuli. Different circuits within the network generate innate and conditioned responses. But how these survival circuits interact with supraspinal motor/cognitive systems to elicit appropriate behavioural responses remains poorly understood. This PhD project will characterize cerebellar-survival circuit functional links and test the hypothesis that cerebellar interaction with survival circuits is dependent on its modular organization.

Overall, the project will provide new insights into the structure and function of survival circuits with the overarching goal of providing the foundations for understanding the neural mechanisms that underlie emotional disorders.

How to apply:  Please make an online application for this project at Please select South West Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (PhD) on the Programme Choice page and enter details of the studentship when prompted in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form

Candidate requirements: These PhD studentships are awarded on the calibre of the applicant rather than the project. Therefore we are seeking a motivated and enthusiastic candidate, who is on track to be awarded a first-class honours undergraduate degree. Ideally the candidate would have some prior experience with in vivo work.

Funding: For funding and eligibility information, please see the BBSRC SWBio Doctoral Training Partnership website: 


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South West England