EPSRC PhD Studentship: Systems Pharmacology of Macroautophagy in Parkinson’s disease

University of Reading - Systems Pharmacology of Macroautophagy in Parkinson’s Disease

Department/School: Pharmacy/SCFP

Supervisors: Patrick Lewis, Marcus Tindall, Claudia Manzoni (University of Reading), and Helene Plun-Favreau (University College London)

Project Overview:

Autophagy, derived from the Greek for “self eating”, is one of the key cellular processes with which cells remove waste and preserve energy, and is critical for both physiological function and cell survival. Dysfunction of autophagy has been linked to a large number of human diseases, including cancer and neurodegeneration, and so the regulation of autophagy is of great interest to the pharmaceutical sector as a source of potential drug targets for these disorders. Despite many decades of research (and the award of a Nobel prize), the precise cellular control mechanisms relating to autophagy are incompletely understood. This is partly due to the highly dynamic nature of these events, responding to a host of intracellular and extracellular prompts, and partly to gaps in our knowledge regarding the parallel signal transduction pathways, primarily driven by phosphorylation of proteins, which control autophagy. The aim of this PhD studentship is to investigate how the macroautophagy system is disrupted in Parkinson’s disease, taking advantage of mathematical modelling and proteomic systems approaches examining all of the proteins in the cell to gain new insights into how autophagy is altered in PD at a cellular level. This will be complemented by cell biology work at the UCL Institute of Neurology with Dr Helene Plun-Favreau, taking advantage of cell models for mitophagy in her laboratory. The project will be run in collaboration between Drs Lewis and Manzoni (School of Pharmacy, University of Reading), Dr Tindall (Mathematics and Statistics, University of Reading), and Professor John Hardy and Dr Helene Plun-Favreau at the UCL Institute of Neurology.


  • Applicants should hold or expect to gain a minimum of a 2:1 Bachelor Degree or equivalent in Biochemistry, Mathematics or a related subject
  • Due to restrictions on the funding this studentship is open to UK/EU students.

Funding Details:

  • Starts 09/2018
  • Three year award
  • Tuition fees plus stipend at Research Council rate (starting stipend £14,533)

How to apply:

To apply for this studentship please submit an application for a PhD in Pharmacy at www.reading.ac.uk/graduateschool/prospectivestudents/gs-how-to-apply.aspx.

*Important notes*

  • 1) Please quote the reference ‘GS18-016’ in the ‘Scholarships applied for’ box which appears within the Funding Section of your on-line application.
  • 2) When you are prompted to upload a research proposal, please omit this step.

Further Enquiries:

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.

For further details please contact Dr Lewis (p.a.lewis@reading.ac.uk) or Dr Plun-Flavreau (h.plun-favreau@ucl.ac.uk)

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