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Spectromicroscopy to study the role of iron in Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

Supervisor: Joanna Collingwood; Co-Supervisor: Tina Geraki (DLS)

This AS-CDT PhD project, to start in autumn 2021, is jointly supervised by the Trace Metals in Medicine Laboratory in the School of Engineering at Warwick, and the I18 Microfocus beamline at the Diamond Light Source synchrotron in Oxfordshire.

The PhD student undertaking this project will investigate the role of metals in Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). PSP is a rare and presently incurable neurodegenerative disorder that responds poorly to medication, and results in a significantly reduced life expectancy. This project is an important opportunity to better understand the role of altered iron homeostasis in PSP in collaboration with our neuropathologist colleagues at University of Toronto.

This project also provides an exciting opportunity for the student to develop and improve methods for imaging analysis of metals in tissue samples at the world-class Diamond Light Source synchrotron in Oxfordshire. This will support synchrotron researchers to study fragile samples with combinations of x-ray microscopy and spectroscopy, preserving critical properties of the samples at sub-cellular resolutions, and correlating the results from the techniques. During the PhD project, the student will collaborate with members of the Spectroscopy and Imaging Groups to apply the improved methods to the study of iron in PSP.

Becoming a member of the AS-CDT and Trace Metals in Medicine Laboratory at University of Warwick, and of the I18 Beamline team at Diamond Light Source synchrotron, and visiting at University of Toronto, will provide expertise across the spectrum of analytical science, technology, and medicine in a diversity of research environments and cultures. This will support the student to access future opportunities in sectors including research facilities, industry, and academic research.

You are encouraged to apply if:

· You have a background in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, and Medicine), a 2:1 undergraduate degree in a STEMM discipline is a prerequisite;

· You enjoy problem-solving, and persevere to find solutions;

· You have excellent communication skills, and you can work independently and as part of a team;

· You have an interest in microscopy and/or spectroscopy, and you are keen to work at the interface between inorganic chemistry and neuroscience. Note that prior experience in specific areas is not required as training is provided as part of this PhD.

The University of Warwick provides an inclusive working and learning environment, recognising and respecting every individual’s differences. We welcome applications from individuals who identify with any of the protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010.

For further details please contact Professor Joanna Collingwood: 

Recent work from the Trace Metals laboratory involving Diamond Light Source can be seen here: “Discovery of microscopic metallic particles in the human brain

Additional information about the Trace Metals in Medicine Laboratory at Warwick, and the I18 Microfocus Beamline at Diamond Light Source, is available at the links below:

Start date: 27 September 2021

Apply now