Endotyping neurodegeneration through the eye using multimodal retinal imaging

PhD studentship at the University of Edinburgh in conjunction with Heidelberg Engineering

Application Deadline – Wednesday 11th January 2023

Neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of people worldwide and are a global public health challenge. They occur when nerve cells in the brain or peripheral nervous system lose function over time and ultimately die. While no cures currently exist, early detection provides a chance for earlier treatment that may help to prevent or slow disease progression with symptomatic relief to enhance patients’ quality of life. The retina as an accessible part of the human nervous system where we can study nerve cells and small blood vessels and provides a unique “window” to neurodegeneration and neurovascular dysfunction. The SPECTRALIS platform manufactured by our industry partner, Heidelberg Engineering, features 3 types or modes of retinal imaging in one device: Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscopy (SLO) to capture views of the interior surface of the retina featuring the optic nerve head, macula and small blood vessels; Optical coherence tomography (OCT) for cross-sectional imaging of the retina and choroid; OCT-Angiography (OCTA) to image the smallest capillary-level vessel networks. Combining these outputs will enable a detailed characterisation of the vascular systems of the retina and surrounding nerve tissues and further the study of neurodegeneration and neurovascular dysfunction. Generating new insights through the eye will help develop a better understanding, differentiating and monitoring of brain disease, and eventually the development of new therapeutic targets.

For further details regarding the PhD studentship, including the application process, please see here: