Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research (WCMR) – PhD Studentship in Dissecting the Molecular Mechanisms underpinning Hyperexcitable Neuronal Networks in Mitochondrial Disease

Newcastle University

Value of award

This studentship covers UK/EU fees plus an annual stipend at Research Council rates (£14,553 for 2017-18). Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

Number of awards


Start date and duration

September 2018 for 3 years.

Application closing date

Applications accepted until the position is filled.


Applications are invited from highly qualified and motivated students for PhD training.

This is one of four studentships available in the WCMR. Incoming students will be engaged in research projects that will integrate across the groups within the Wellcome Centre, offering a vibrant multidisciplinary training environment. The Centre has an excellent track record in training and mentoring both basic and clinical scientists at this level.

The aim of this project is to explore the molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal hyperexcitability in model systems in order to develop better treatment strategies to manage seizure events. We have recently generated mice with a conditional knock-out (KO) TFAM allele within the parvalbumin interneurons. The student will use a range of electrophysiological, neurohistopathological (including CLARITY and CyTOF) and molecular biology tools to assess the mitochondrial pathology and interrogate the downstream effects of mitochondrial dysfunction on neuronal network dynamics. This will help to better understand mechanisms which inform the development of novel treatment strategies either in form of pharmaceutical agents or neurostimulatory methods.

Research activities within the Centre are built on our long standing clinical and scientific expertise in mitochondrial biology and disease, with more than 50 researchers engaged in research projects spanning clinical aspects through diagnosis and gene discovery to fundamental science investigating molecular mechanisms and mitochondrial gene expression.

We are committed to providing the best care for our patients by developing new strategies for preventing or treating mitochondrial disease. This is fundamentally dependent upon high quality basic and clinical research, to which incoming students will contribute, allowing us to better understand the mechanisms underlying mitochondrial disease.


Newcastle University

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr Nichola Lax, Dr Grainne Gorman, Dr Yi Ng, Professor Mark Cunningham

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates must have a BSc (Hons) in an appropriate scientific speciality at either a first or 2:1 level.

The award is available to UK/EU and international applicants.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’.

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 ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences - Neuroscience' as the programme of study 
  • insert the studentship code IN095 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 IN095 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.


For further information please email Dr Nichola Lax.

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Northern England