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PhD studentship in Edinburgh: Improved MRI techniques for diagnosis of brain vascular dysfunction

3.5-year MRC PhD Studentship in the UK Dementia Research Institute at the University of Edinburgh

Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia affect over 45 million people worldwide and cost over £26 billion per year in the UK alone.  Currently, there are no disease modifying treatments, and the number of people with the disease is rapidly increasing as our population ages.  A clearer understanding of the pathophysiology is needed to guide the development of effective therapeutics.

Vascular dysfunction in dementia includes impaired blood-brain barrier (BBB), vasoreactivity (CVR) and interstitial fluid (ISF) drainage. The contribution of each and the sequence of pathology is unknown. The project will test the hypothesis that BBB leakage predates impaired CVR and leads to ISF stagnation. Multiparametric MRI methods will be developed (in collaboration with healthcare technologist Siemens) to identify and map BBB function, CVR, and ISF drainage onto detailed structural brain images to map tissue damage and lesion development. The student will train in novel MRI acquisition techniques, the handling of large data sets, and computational image analysis.

In addition to working on an important problem with cutting edge techniques, the student will be part of the newly formed UK Dementia Research Institute Centre at the University of Edinburgh. This is part of a 250 million pound investment in dementia research across 6 centres in the UK and the student will be part of a vibrant local and national research community. The Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences also has extensive international collaborations through EU Horizon 2020 and Leducq Foundation funding.

For more information on the project and how to apply, please visit: http://www.edinburghneuroscience.ed.ac.uk/project/dementia-including-alzheimers-disease-small-vessel-disease/improved-mri-techniques-diagnosis

Interested students should in the first instance contact the supervisor(s) Prof Joanna Wardlaw or Prof Ian Marshall to discuss the project.

The deadline for application is 23 June 2017