Neurobiology and Neurodegeneration

MPhil / PhD / MD

Neurobiology & Neurodegeneration integrates expertise in cell biology, structural biology, signalling and the use of model organisms to investigate neuronal development, ageing, neurodegeneration and addiction. Research is undertaken within the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology.

World-leading in physiological research

A leading international centre for research into the fundamental principles of human physiology. We have recognised expertise in all aspects of modern physiology ranging from the regulation of gene expression to cell, tissue and whole organism biology.

  • 100%

    4* and 3* in research environment in Clinical Medicine REF (2014).

  • 309

    academic members of staff.

  • 359

    registered postgraduate research students.

Research at Liverpool

Our experimental approaches involve biochemical, behavioural, electrophysiological, molecular, structural and imaging techniques applied to mammalian cell systems and also to model organisms such as Caenorhabdities elegans and Drosophila melanogaster. We complement these studies with work at the level of the individual protein and also by studying conserved mechanisms in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Together these research programs provide an exciting and dynamic research environment which benefits from increasing collaboration with The Liverpool Neuroscience group, including clinicians working in neurology.

Research themes

Research areas specifically focus on:

  • Neuronal cell and synaptic biology
  • Mechanisms underlying the exocytotic release of neurotransmitters
  • Formation of neuronal cytoskeleton and neuronal networks during development
  • State-of art imaging and optogenetic techniques in primary neurons
  • Structural basis for target protein recognition by neuronal calcium-binding proteins, including how neuronal calcium signals are translated into physiological responses by calcium sensor proteins
  • Role of heat-shock and other neuronal chaperone proteins in protection from damaging challenge (e.g. alcohol or nicotine exposure) and from neurodegeneration (such as Alzheimer’s disease)
  • How neurodegeneration can be prevented by genetic or chemical factors
  • Development of fundamental model systems that can be used for initial stages of drug discovery for neuronal disorders (including epilepsy).

Research interests

  • Neuronal cell and synaptic biology
  • Mechanisms underlying the exocytotic release of neurotransmitters
  • Formation of neuronal cytoskeleton and neuronal networks during development
  • Structural basis for target protein recognition by neuronal calcium-binding proteins, including how neuronal calcium signals are translated into physiological responses by calcium sensor proteins
  • Role of heat-shock and other neuronal chaperone proteins in protection from damaging challenge (e.g. alcohol or nicotine exposure) and from neurodegeneration (such as Alzheimer’s disease).

Facilities

The research infrastructure of the Institute of Translational Medicine is designed to give researchers access to world class facilities in the best possible environment.

Our centres, facilities and resources give us the ability to drive biomedical research from patient samples to the laboratory bench and vice versa from newly generated drug compounds into clinical trials. They provide powerful, productive collaborations between experts within the University and organisations worldwide.

  • Biomedical Imaging
  • Centre for Antimicrobial Pharmacodynamics
  • Centre for Drug Safety Science
  • Health Data Science Network
  • Centre for Preclinical Imaging
  • Clinical Trials Research Centre
  • Harris-Wellbeing Preterm Birth Research Centre
  • Liverpool Bio-Innovation Hub (LBIH) Biobank
  • Liverpool Cancer Trials Unit
  • MRC North West Hub for Trials Methodology Research
  • North West Cancer Research Centre – University of Liverpool
  • Pancreas Biomedical Research Unit
  • UK Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre for Children
  • Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicine

Postgraduate researchers also benefit from flexible access to world-class equipment and expertise through the Shared Research Facilities provided by The Technology Directorate.

Study options and fees

MPhil

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) can be thought of as a shorter version of the PhD. It requires the same research skills, training, planning, and project management. It can be a way to assess whether you wish to undertake doctoral research - or it can be taken for its own sake.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,195 £15,350
Part time 4-6 years £2,098 £7,675
PhD

A doctoral degree is awarded to students that have demonstrated the ability to conceptualise, design, and implement a substantial research project that results in new knowledge, applications, or understanding in their field of study. During your research, you can expect to draw on direct clinical and observational experience to produce an original thesis of 80,000-100,000 words. You'll be part of a research group which matches your research interests. Research groups offer opportunities for cross-disciplinary research collaboration, as well as support and expertise for your research.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,195 £15,350
Part time 4-6 years £2,098 £7,675
MD

The Doctor of Medicine (MD) is a doctoral degree open to medical practitioners (technically, anyone holding a medical qualification registrable with the General Medical Council). It is equivalent in requirements and format to the PhD.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,195 £15,350
Part time 2-6 years £2,098 £7,675

Entry requirements

Eligibility and entry qualifications

Applicants for postgraduate research study at Liverpool are normally expected to hold a UK first degree with a First Class or Upper Second Class degree classification, or a Second Class degree plus a Master’s degree. Equivalent international qualifications are also accepted, and their equivalence will be evaluated on the basis of the information provided by the National Academic Recognition and Information Centre (NARIC) as well as internal guidance based on our experience of a qualification’s suitability as a preparation for our programmes.

English language requirements

To apply for this research degree, you must have reached a minimum standard of English. You need to be able to provide evidence of this.  See our English language requirements for international students for guidance on the different English language qualifications and evidence that you can provide. 

International qualifications

We welcome applications from within the EU and from around the world. You should ensure that your qualifications are equivalent to those which are required to study for this research degree.  See our guidance on international qualifications.

Additional requirements

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

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Your supervisor is your main source of academic support and mentoring. You'll need to find a supervisor before you start your research degree. It's helpful to identify a supervisor and discuss your research proposal before you apply.

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Related studentships

Funding

LDC module

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Join us and you'll also join the Liverpool Doctoral College, our home for doctoral support, training and development. You'll join a vibrant and collaborative community of researchers, get tailored support for your development and have the opportunity to undertake a work placement.

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