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New PhD studentship opportunity with Eastbio Doctoral Training Centre at The University of Edinburgh (UK). Apply by the 16th December 2021 to join world-leading researchers investigating age-related cognitive changes.


Project details

Project title: "Understanding Processes Implicated in Cognition and Age-related Cognitive Decline using Experimental Biology and Computational Analysis" Application deadline16th December 2021



We recently discovered a novel role for the SORCS2 gene in DNA double-strand break (DSB) formation (Gospodinova et al., 2021). We showed that loss of the receptor in mice is associated with elevated DSB levels in the mouse hippocampus. In addition, knocking out SORCS2 in a human neuronal cell line led to increased DSB formation and reduced neuronal viability. These findings are of interest as DNA damage is linked to age-related cognitive decline, and transient neuronal DSBs also occur during learning and memory formation. 

The aims of the project are to determine the causes of the DSBs and the impact of SORCS2 loss on the cell. SORCS2 is implicated in neuronal activity, NMDAR trafficking and oxidative stress. The student will perform experiments to investigate whether deficits in these processes underlie the increased numbers of DSBs in the neurons lacking SORCS2. In parallel, they will investigate the impact of SORCS2 loss on the cell. For example, cell painting, which provides a phenotypic signature via the simultaneous application of fluorogenic protein stains that label multiple cellular structures and subcellular organelles, will be combined with automated high content imaging to extract ~1000 cellular features (various measures of size, shape, texture, intensity etc). These data can be used to create a machine learning model to enable an unbiased classification of cellular phenotypes in a high throughput manner. Thus the project will lead to greater understanding of functions implicated in learning and memory processes and age-related cognitive decline. 

The project is co-supervised by Prof Neil Carragher (who has expertise in the cell painting area) and Dr Stuart Aitken (who has expertise in machine learning).



For enquiries, please contact Ms Kathy Evans:



Further details

Find more details and how to apply link and instrucitions on the Eastbio Doctoral Training Centre website

PhD studentship information on Eastbio Doctoral Training Centre website


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