PhD studentship – Mitophagy in Lewy body dementia

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Website StudentsNCL Newcastle University

Closing date: 10th April


Lewy body dementia (LBD) is the second most common form of neurodegenerative dementia after Alzheimer’s disease and for which no treatment is available. The brains of individuals with LBD manifest protein aggregates termed Lewy bodies, primarily composed of the protein α-synuclein, in addition to organelles such as mitochondria. The role of Lewy bodies is not known, but their presence in disease states has led to the widespread view that they are detrimental to neuronal health and α-synuclein has become a major target for candidate therapeutics. However, our data suggest that Lewy bodies may be encapsulating damaged mitochondria, and thus we aim to explore the hypothesis that Lewy bodies may have a protective role in encapsulating products that cannot be degraded through autophagy.

The proposed studentship will involve a multi-disciplinary approach to this question, harnessing both the real-world relevance of human post-mortem brain tissue and the unparalleled potential for mechanistic discovery in cultured cells. The student will receive training in a wide range of techniques using these platforms, including immunofluorescence and quantitative microscopy, molecular biology (organelle isolation, aggregation assays, proteomics), and data analysis. Using these complimentary approaches in a very supportive environment, the student will explore changes to mitophagy/autophagy in LBD tissues and attempt to recapitulate these changes in cultured cells.

The awardee will benefit from a very supportive supervisory team with unique but complimentary skills, ranging from human neuropathology to autophagy processes in cultured neurons. The student will benefit from frequent interactions with LBD clinicians and scientists who form part of the world-leading LBD research programme at Newcastle University, in addition to a large and supportive community of neuroscientists and mitochondrial biologists.

Number Of Awards


Start Date

September 2023

Award Duration

Three years


Jacobson Memorial Fund for Neurological Research


Dr Daniel Erskine

Dr Viktor Korolchuk

Dr Laura Smith

Eligibility Criteria

You must have/expect to achieve a 1st or 2:1 honours degree or international equivalent in an appropriate scientific speciality, a Masters degree in a relevant subject would be advantageous.

Applicants whose first language is not English require an IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum of 5.5 in each subsection.

How To Apply

To apply for a studentship, you must register and apply through the University’s Apply to Newcastle Portal 

In the ‘Course choice’ tab:

  • select ‘Postgraduate Research’ in the ‘Type of Study’ field
  • select ‘Full Time’ in the ‘Mode of Study’ field
  • select ‘2023’ in the ‘Year of Entry’ field
  • enter programme code 8440F in the ‘Course Title’ field
  • leave the ‘Research Area’ field blank
  • press ‘Search’
  • Select ‘PhD Translational and Clinical Research (FT)
  • Save selection
  • a ‘Personal Statement’ (this is a mandatory field) – upload a document or write a statement directly in to the application form
  • the studentship code TC061 in the ‘Studentship/Partnership Reference’ field

When prompted for how you are providing your research proposal – select ‘Write Proposal’. You should then type in the title of the research project from this advert. You do not need to upload a research proposal.

Contact Details

To apply for this job please visit

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