This PhD project will investigate the role of iron in brain ageing and provide insight into its influence on neurodegeneration and cognitive decline. The accumulation of iron in the brain has become an established hallmark of ageing with selective accumulation occurring in several distinct brain areas. With the advent of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based measures of iron deposition it has become possible to map iron concentration in the brain non-invasively on a millimetre scale.

We aim to establish the link between MRI detected brain iron concentration and brain ageing in the Aberdeen Children of the Nineteen Fifties (ACONF) an existing richly phenotyped imaging, cognitive and early life dataset. Along with first degree relatives, 567 have undergone detailed cognitive, emotional, and multimodal brain MRI. Detailed metal health, longitudinal cognitive trajectories, inflammation, DNA and RNA have already been extracted from this study. Our primary objective is to estimate in-vivo brain iron concentration from multi-echo gradient-echo Quantitative Susceptibility Maps to elucidate the role that iron deposition has in brain ageing. We will combine this with rich life-course data and childhood intelligence to identify those regions that may be responsible for providing resilience or vulnerability to neurodegeneration.

For details of this project with Dr Gordon Waiter and Dr Chris McNeil at the University of Aberdeen, go to

The deadline for application is 30 October 2019