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Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases MPhil/PhD, MD(Res)

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Overview

The Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases (WCARD) is part of the Division of Neuroscience within the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN). Research in the WCARD focuses on the maintenance of a healthy nervous system during aging, by understanding how its activity changes during damage to nerves and the surrounding tissues, and investigating new techniques to repair damaged neurons. Our long-term goal is to improve the quality of life of patients affected by age-related diseases of the nervous system. Our research is geared towards i) understanding molecular mechanisms that drive disease conditions and ii) harness our scientific knowledge to develop new therapeutic strategies to restore normal sensory function and to better repair injury.

 

Currently, our 3 major research themes are:

1). Chronic Pain: Delineating new pathways and mechanisms of pain to allow us to identify innovative targets in neurons and non-neuronal cell.

2). Regeneration: Aiming to restore function after nerve injury by developing regenerative therapies that target the ongoing inflammation and glial scar to facilitate endogenous repair mechanisms.

3). Hearing: Studying the genetics of age-related hearing loss in humans and mice to understand the pathological mechanisms that drive this process.

Researchers in all 3 themes are actively seeking PhD students to join their projects.

 

We specialise in using electrophysiology and imaging techniques (e.g. patch-clamp; fMRI/microPET; genetic indicators of neuronal activity; in situ hybridization) with sequencing and bioinformatics (e.g. RNAseq, microarray, machine learning) on translational models of human disease (e.g. neuropathic pain, stroke, spinal cord injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Dementia, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia) to better understand disease processes. The results of these studies then inform a drug discovery process to develop innovative therapeutics.

 

Key benefits

  • Interaction with internationally renowned neuroscience researchers both within the WCARD and as presenters at our research seminars.
  • Friendly and collaborative research environment
  • Partnerships with hospitals, industrial collaborators and other research centres
  • PhD students have the opportunity to develop their research skills in the WCARD, and also have access to transferable skills training through the KCL Centre for Doctoral Studies
  • We encourage our PhD students to develop their education skills through involvement in tutorials and laboratory demonstrations for undergraduate and taught post-graduate students in the departments of Biochemistry, Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Physiology.

Key information

Duration Expected to be three to four years FT, or four to six years PT. Registration usually October although students may commence at any time.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience

Locations

 

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Course detail

Description

Over the last two decades, there have been tremendous advances in our understanding of the molecules and principles that govern the functioning of the nervous system. Great progress has been made to understand the molecular basis of disease states and pain, and the molecular mechanisms that limit regeneration. These advances enable innovative neuroscience and the opportunity to translate new knowledge into clinical benefits.

Our mission is to:

  • Further understand the causes of neuropathic disease, identify new drug targets, develop treatments and monitor outcomes;
  • Study synaptic receptors and neuronal signalling mechanisms to promote symptomatic relief from the pain and dysfunction associated with a damaged nervous system;
  • Develop and test strategies aimed at restoring function to the damaged nervous system by promoting cell survival and forming new synaptic connections or neurons.

Our PhD students are an essential part of our research work, but every project and every studentship is different. A list of publications, research grants and researchers from the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases can be found here.

Course study environment

Students work alongside staff researchers, are supervised by two members of academic staff and overseen by a divisional research co-ordinator. Students' progress is monitored closely and reported on every six months.

Postgraduate training

All students are regularly notified about skills development opportunities through a monthly Postgraduate Research Newsletter.

Head of group/division

Professor Patrick Doherty

Contact for information

For any additional queries regarding application and project approval procedures please contact

Education Support Team: Olivia Rees- ioppn.educationsupport@kcl.ac.uk

Admissions Tutor: Dr Nicola Hamilton-Whitaker - nicola.hamilton-whitaker@kcl.ac.uk

Administrator: Vivien Cheah – vivien.cheah@kcl.ac.uk

Course website

http://www.kcl.ac.uk/schools/biohealth/research/wolfson/

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

ARD Research entry requirements
Minimum requirements  
  • Bachelor's degree with 2:1 honours in science, medicine or dentistry.

  • A 2:2 degree may be considered if the applicant also has a Master's degree with a merit or distinction.

  • Relevant experience may also be acceptable.

International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band D Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.

 

Application procedure

Application procedure:

Step 1- Finding Supervisors: Firstly, you will need to find supervisors to work with you in this capacity. You can search through our research portal to find supervisors who work in your chosen research area. Applicants are expected to contact academics directly.

Step 2- Arranging funding: Unless you are applying for a studentship or can self-fund your studies, you will need to arrange for funding before you make the application. The following pages are useful:

For tips and advice from our students who have been awarded NIHR and MRC Research Training Fellowships, particularly regarding the interview stage click here.

Step 3- Make an online application: Next you need to make your online application here.  This application will be assessed by the Admissions team to assess your references, fee status as well as your eligibility in terms of education and experience.

Step 4- Submit a Project Approval Form: The project approval form (PAF) is used to assess your project in terms of planning, feasibility and appropriateness for a PhD. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the form is completed but it is recommended that applicants work closely with the supervisors.

Make sure you complete all sections, answering all questions fully, and signatures from all supervisors and student are included. There is no need to collect the signatures from the Head of Department/Business Manager and Sub-Committee Chair at this point.

 We strongly advise the submission of your application as early as possible to ensure that you can begin with your desired intake. If your application is not processed in time you run the risk of a deferral to the subsequent intake.

We advise Home students to submit their online application and PAF at least two months before their desired registration date, and EU and Overseas students to submit their online application and PAF at least three months ahead of their desired registration date, although the earlier the application submission the better. This is to take into account any English Language tests you may need to take and await the results of, and any visa applications that you may need to make.

It is typical that the process from the receipt of your online application and PAF through to offer letter stage (which includes the arrangement of the PhD interview) takes approximately six weeks.

Please note that the deadlines listed below are for both the online application and Project Approval Form (PAF) which is to be submitted in Microsoft Word format to ioppn.educationsupport@kcl.ac.uk.

Copies of the PAF can be downloaded here. 

 

Personal statement and supporting information

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Wolfson Centre research checklist
Personal Statement Yes A personal statement of up to 4,000 characters (maximum 2 pages) is required.
Research Proposal Yes

The proposal should explain in some detail precisely the field of study that you want to contribute to and current research gaps, what you want to do and how you propose to do it. For advice on how to write a winning application, please visit the following page.

A letter of support from your proposed King's supervisor is also required. More information is available on the IOPPN website.

Previous Academic Study Yes

A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.

Please also list A-level subjects (or high school subjects for international students) and the grades achieved.

References Yes Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Other Optional Applicants may wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of their application.

 

Course intake

Normally 10.

Application closing date

The deadlines for applications are detailed below. We will open applications for an intake in 2020 after the final deadline passes in 2019.

  • February 2019 entry – 26th October 2018 for International students and 3rd December 2018 for Home/EU students
  • June 2019 entry - 12th April 2019 for International and Home/EU students
  • October 2019 entry – 26th July 2018 for International students and 30th August for Home/EU students
  • February 2020 entry – 25th October 2019 for International students and 2nd December 2019 for Home/EU students
  • June 2020 entry - 17th April 2020 for International and Home/EU students

Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

UK/EU Tuition Fees 2018/19

Full time tuition fees: £5,700 per year

Part time tuition fees: £2,850 per year

UK/EU Tuition Fees 2019/20

Full time tuition fees: £6,100 per year

Part time tuition fees: £3,050 per year

International Tuition Fees 2018/19

Full time tuition fees: £22,050 per year

Part time tuition fees: £11,025 per year

International Tuition Fees 2019/20

Full time tuition fees: £23,000 per year

Part time tuition fees: £11,500 per year

Students starting their programme in 2019/20 who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 2020/21.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

Of the last 20 PhD students who left the Wolfson CARD, all finished their PhDs within the allotted time and either carried on as an early career researcher (postdoctoral research associates and fellows; 57%), continued in scientific careers beyond academia (38%) or found a career outside science (5%). Of those that chose to continue as a postdoctoral academic researcher, 75% stayed at a UK university, and 25% went to a non-UK university.

Career destinations

Contact Division for details.

Testimonials

Next steps

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