PhD Studentship Available

PhD Studentship                                      

“Investigation of the cellular and molecular consequences of maternal inflammation on the cytoarchitecture of the developing spinal cord”

An Anatomical Society ( funded three-year PhD studentship is available from the 01/10/2014 jointly in the University of Limerick Graduate Entry Medical School (UL GEMS) and Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience in University College Cork (UCC). The successful applicant will be located in the state-of-the-art laboratories in UL GEMS and the Biosciences Institute in UCC.

Recently evidence has indicated that physiological challenges in early life have profound effects on later susceptibility to neurological disorders and chronic disease. Conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, epilepsy and general age-related neurodegeneration have all been linked to environmental influences in early life, often at foetal stages. New findings reveal that maternal inflammation can result in disturbances in the white matter of the developing foetal nervous system; affecting both myelinating cells, myelin and axons. However, the mechanism(s) by which these cells are affected as well as the critical windows of vulnerability are unclear. Specifically the goal of this project will be to address this knowledge gap by testing the hypothesis that maternal inflammation detrimentally affects oligodendrocytes and neurones, which are derived from an early common progenitor cell, in a temporally and spatially precise manner and leads to specific pathobiological white matter changes, and potentially alterations in the architecture of the motor system.

Applicants should have or expect to attain a first or upper second class honours degree in either Anatomy or Neuroscience or another closely related subject such as Physiology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, etc. We are particularly interested in individuals with experience or backgrounds in development, microscopy and molecular biology and who are capable of maximising the benefit of carrying out the research in the two collaborating laboratories. Thus we are seeking a highly motivated, hard-working candidate with the ability to work independently to drive this demanding project.

The studentship includes an annual stipend based on Anatomical Society guidelines (starting at approx. €17000 per annum) and includes all tuition fees and annual conference travel allowances.

Interested candidates should send via email, a letter stating why you are interested and why you would be suitable for the position and a CV to include the names and contact details of two referees to;

Dr Kieran McDermott (

Rm 383 Western Gateway Building

UCC, Cork, Ireland.

(UL GEMS from June 3rd)


For informal discussion please contact either

Dr Kieran McDermott ( or Dr. Gerard O’Keeffe (


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