PhD Studentship: Unravelling dynein-microtubule mediated long-distance intracellular transport: From experiments to mathematics and back

University of Sussex - School of Life Sciences & School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

A Ph.D. studentship (42 months) is available from September 2018 under the supervision of Dr Majid Hafezparast, Neuroscience, School of Life Sciences and Prof Anotida Madzvamuse, Department of Mathematics, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

An exciting interdisciplinary PhD studentship is available in the School of Life Sciences and the Department of Mathematics at the University of Sussex. The primary aim of this project is to generate biological data on the behaviour of a fascinating molecular motor protein known as cytoplasmic dynein. 

Cytoplasmic dynein is an intriguing and indispensable multi-subunit molecular motor that uses microtubules as tracks to transport intracellular organelles such as endosomes and mitochondria in eukaryotic cells. Mutations in the gene DYNC1H1, encoding the heavy chain subunit of cytoplasmic dynein, cause autosomal dominant spinal muscular atrophy and learning disability in children.

In this project, the student will use a wide spectrum of molecular and cell biology techniques combined with state-of-the-art advance fluorescence microscopy to generate biological data on the stepping behaviour of cytoplasmic dynein on the microtubules. The generated data will enable the development of mathematical and computational models that describe cytoplasmic dynein function; and they could in turn make predictions testable in the laboratory. Such an interdisciplinary approach will equip the student with an array of highly sought-after skills and enables us to develop a robust strategy for better understanding of the function of cytoplasmic dynein in health and disease.

This project is one of a number ear-marked for funding by the University of Sussex Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Doctoral Training Partnership to commence in September 2018. This project is in direct competition with others for funding; the projects which receive the best applicants will be awarded the funding.

Please submit a formal application using our online application system at, including a CV, degree transcripts and certificates, statement of interest (clearly stating supervisor’s name and the project title) and names of two academic referees. On the application system use Programme of Study – PhD Neuroscience.

Applicants should possess an excellent academic record and should have received or be expected to receive a relevant first or upper-second class honours degree. The EPSRC award is available to UK and to EU students who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for the previous 3 years.  EU candidates who do not meet this criteria will be eligible for a fee waiver only. Overseas (non EU) students are not eligible to apply for EPSRC funding, but they are welcome to apply if they have access to other sources of funding.

Contact Anna Izykowska for application enquiries (

Contact Dr Majid Hafezparast ( for enquiries about the project.

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South East England