3-year funded PhD Studentship at QMUL

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Reach out and grab something: A13 dopamine neurons and their contribution to skilled forelimb movements

Applications are open for a 3-year funded PhD Studentship in the School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences (SBBS) at Queen Mary University of London.

  • Supervisors: Dr John Apergis-Schoute
  • Studentship Funding:
    • Name: SBBS Studentship
    • Funder: School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences (SBBS) at QMUL
  • Application Deadline: 14th April 2024
  • Expected Start Date: Sept 2024

The brain chemical dopamine (DA) is well-known to play an important role in both motivation and motor control and so many theories of dopamine function posit that the two are functionally coupled and together are necessary for effective planning, initiation, and execution of actions for achieving a goal. Successful reach-to-grasp movements fit under this model as they are severely disrupted in DA neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases as well as their corresponding rodent models.

What is not clear however is which DA circuits are important for these forelimb movements and what are their exact contributions to such actions. We have recently identified in rats, a previously uncharacterised DA cell population located medially to the zona incerta known by the name A13 to be important in grasping actions (Garau et al., 2023).

The lab is next focusing on determining the exact contributions of A13 DA neurons on prehensile actions and importantly the incoming and outgoing circuits involved which will form the basis of this advertised PhD research. As such, this research will be critical for positioning the A13 within the functional framework of central DA motor circuits and their relation to DA neurodegenerative diseases.

More Information & Application  

Posted on 13/03/2024