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Molecular mechanisms of disease onset in TDP43 proteinopathies

Start date

1st February 2023


1 fully funded 3 year full time Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) PhD Studentship, Basic & Clinical Neuroscience, IoPPN


Cytoplasmic aggregation of TDP43 is a key pathological feature of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). However, the initiating events underlying TDP43-mediated neurodegeneration remain elusive.

To gain insights into the early onset of disease, we carried out RNA sequencing screens based on which we hypothesize that TDP43 accumulation causes aberrant activation of an innate immune response that ultimately leads to progressive neurodegeneration.

This PhD studentship will test our hypothesis and validate its findings using available fly and mouse models of TDP43 proteinopathy, as well as human cell culture models and patient-derived tissue.

The student will acquire cutting-edge molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, bioinformatics, and cell culture techniques, and use start-of-the-art microscopy equipment in our in-house Nikon Imaging Centre. The project will be embedded in one of the world’s leading ALS/FTD research centres based in the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute that also hosts the UK Dementia Research Centre on ALS/FTD. 


Dr Frank Hirth and Dr Manolis Fanto

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a Bachelors degree with 2:1 honours (or equivalent). A 2:2 degree may be considered only where applicants also offer a Masters with Merit.

Award types and eligibility

Students will be fully funded for three years (full time) to include UK Home tuitions fees, annual stipend and some research and travel costs.

Note, to be treated as a Home student, candidates must meet one of the following criteria:

  • A UK national (meeting residency requirements)
  • Settled status
  • Pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements)
  • Indefinite leave to remain or enter

For further information on eligibility criteria for being considered a Home student, please see UKCISA guidance

Further information

For informal enquiries, see advert:

About the IoPPN (link to

Studying at the IoPPN (link to

How to apply

Applicants must complete and submit an online admissions application, via the admissions portal by midnight (23:59 GMT), Monday 21st November 2022.

On the ‘Choosing a programme’ page, please select Basic and Clinical Neuroscience Research MPhil/PhD (Full-time).

In your application, you will be asked to include:

  •  Academic Transcripts – where applicable, academic transcripts must be submitted with the online admissions application
  • Details of your qualifications (you will need to attach copies)
  • Details of previous employment - please include your CV
  • A personal statement describing your interests and why you wish to apply for this project. Please include this as an attachment rather than using the text box.
  • Academic References – all admissions applications require one supporting reference. The applicant must ensure that (1) their chosen referee is made aware of the funding deadline (i.e. 7 days from application deadline) and (2) that the reference needs to be sent from an institutional email address.

In the Funding section, please tick box 5 and include the following reference: FH-IoPPN-MNDA-23

Please note there is no need to complete the Research Proposal section in your application as the project has already been set.

You are welcome to email Dr Hirth for more information regarding the project and studentship.

If you have any queries regarding the application process, please contact the Education support team at

References must be received by the deadline for the applicant to be eligible.

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Closing date

21st November 2022 (23:59 GMT)


14th & 15th December 2022


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