PhD: Understanding The Molecular Mechanisms of VPS35 Parkinson’s Disease Using C. Elegans

University of Reading - School of Biological Sciences and School of Pharmacy


Dr. Eva Kevei
Dr. Patrick Lewis

Project Overview:

We are seeking an exceptional PhD candidate to join our research teams at the University of Reading to investigate the molecular mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is driven by the death of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the Substantia Nigra. Despite decades of research, the cellular mechanisms underpinning selective DA neuronal degeneration remain unknown. Recently a new autosomal dominantly inherited mutation in VPS35 gene was identified in multiple individuals with inherited PD. VPS35 is part of the cargo binding complex of the retromer, which is involved in retrograde transport of membrane proteins from endosomes to the Golgi. The PD associated pathology and the molecular mechanisms by which VPS35 mutation leads to PD remains to be identified. The aim of this project to identify molecular pathways and defects involved in VPS35 mutation-driven PD. The successful applicant will use the model organism C. elegans engineered using cutting edge CRISPR approaches to carry the disease mutation at an endogenous level to characterize the perturbed cellular pathways and organismal consequences of VPS35 mutations.

The PhD studentship is fully funded (36 months, £16,000 annual stipend) by Parkinsons’s UK. The student will benefit from the University of Reading Graduate School Reading Research Development programme, which covers the development of core and professional skills and is a compulsory part of PhD training at Reading as well as the opportunity to develop management skills through training available at Henley Business School.


  • Applicants should hold or expect to gain a minimum of a 2:1 Bachelor Degree or equivalent in a Biology related subject. Experience with C. elegans or with cellular models for neurodegeneration would be advantageous, but not a pre-requisite. Due to restrictions on the funding this studentship is open to UK/EU students.

Funding Details:   

  • Starts: January 2018
  • Ends: December 2020
  • 3 years fully funded [UK/EU tuition fees plus stipend]

How to apply:

To apply for this studentship please submit an application for a PhD in Biological Sciences at the School of Biological Sciences.

* Please quote the reference ‘GS17-202’ in the ‘Scholarships applied for’ box which appears within the Funding Section of your on-line application.

Application Deadline:


Further Enquiries:  Please email Dr Kevei ( or Dr Lewis ( if you have any questions relating to the project.

Please note that, where a candidate is successful in being awarded funding, this will be confirmed via a formal studentship award letter; this will be provided separately from any Offer of Admission and will be subject to standard checks for eligibility and other criteria.

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South East England