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Name of scholarship/program

Protection of inner hair cells from lethal injury: preventing progression to profound hearing loss

Important description
A 3 year PhD studentship sponsored by Deafness Research UK is available at the UCL Ear Institute, starting in March 2013.

This PhD project aims to identify potential means to prevent or slow the rate of death of inner hair cells (IHC), one of the two types of sensory cells in the cochlea. We have found that the pathological features in dying IHC are different from those of outer hair cells (sensory cells that primarily amplify sound vibrations). Initial studies suggest that a particular biochemical pathway, known as autophagy, may be involved in the death of IHC. Autophagy, is known to be important in cancer progression and in neurodegenerative diseases, but it has not been investigated in the inner ear. A number of agents that inhibit or enhance autophagy and influence cell survival have been identified. It is anticipated that this study will identify potential targets ultimately for therapeutic intervention and hence reduce the extent to which a hearing impairment progresses. The project will utilise a range of contemporary techniques in molecular and cell biology, as well as imaging.

The project is part of ongoing research into hair cell death and regeneration and will be supervised by Dr Ruth Taylor, Dr Sally Dawson and Prof Andrew Forge at the UCL Ear Institute. The Ear Institute is a multi-disciplinary state of the art facility with the remit of “understanding hearing and fighting deafness” and is part of the School of Life and Medical Sciences, University College London.

The successful applicant will need to have at least an Upper Second Class honours degree and an interest in cell and molecular biology. The award provides funding for tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and student stipend for three years. To learn more about the project contact Dr Ruth Taylor using the contact details below.

Eligibility and other criteria
(European/UK Students Only)
This research project has funding attached. Funding for this project is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Application deadline
* 25 January 2013

Additional information, and important URL
To apply, please send by email a curriculum vitae with at least 2 referees and a covering letter giving your reasons for applying with an overview of your research interests to: Dr Ruth Taylor (ruth.r.taylor@ucl.ac.uk), UCL Ear Institute, 332 Gray’s Inn Rd, London WC1X 8EE. Tel 020 7679 8954.

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