Alzheimer’s Society Doctoral Training Centre PhD Studentship Neuroscience

University of Sussex

Age-dependent effects of ApoE4 on NMDA receptor-mediated currents in the Hippocampus

A Ph.D. studentship (42 months) is available from September 2018 under the supervision of Dr Andrew Penn and Dr Ruth Murrell-Lagnado, Department of Neuroscience, School of Life Sciences.

This studentship is part of the Alzheimer’s Society Doctoral Training Centre at Sussex whose programme of research focuses on understanding a risk gene for Alzheimer's, APOE4, and its effects throughout life. The overall objective of this PhD is to understand the role of APOE4 in the decline in cognitive function associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Cognitive function will be assessed by analysing transmission and plasticity at synaptic connections in the brain.

This project has two specific aims: first to characterize the effects of the ApoE4 polymorphism on NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-mediated currents in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons, and second to determine if ApoE4 expression in glial cells or neurons is the critical factor in the regulation of these currents. It will utilize human APOE4 and APOE3 knock-in (KI) mice and take advantage of the organotypic hippocampal slice culture method that we have developed to express genes of interest in a cell-type specific manner and to analyse synaptic function using patch clamp electrophysiological methods.

Predicted Outcomes: Determination of ApoE isoform-dependent changes in synaptic and extrasynaptic NMDAR properties and the importance of glial ApoE versus neuronal ApoE expression in this process.

Please submit a formal application using our online application system at, including a CV, degree transcripts and certificates, statement of interest and names of two academic referees.

On the application system use Programme of Study – PhD Neuroscience

Please make sure you include the project title and Supervisor’s name with your statement of interest on the application form.

This position, which covers fees and a stipend at standard RCUK rates, is open to Home / EU applicants. Ideal candidates will have a strong background in Neuroscience, preferably with experience in patch-clamp electrophysiology. Eligible applicants will have recently received an MSc and/or a First or high 2:1 BSc in a relevant subject. Candidates for whom English is not their first language will require an IELTS score of 6.5 overall, with not less than 6.0 in any section.

Contact Anna Izykowska for application enquiries (

Contact Andrew Penn for enquiries about the project (

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