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Stem cell transplant efficacy in Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder, primarily caused by the loss of nigrostriatal dopamine. Drug therapies are effective in early stages of the disease, but new interventions are required in mid-to-late disease stages.

Cell transplantation of foetal cells has been found to be an effective means of alleviating symptoms, but is unsustainable moving forward. Stem-cell based therapies look to develop dopaminergic neurons for transplantation to reduce the drug burden and restore motor function.

However, current animal models are relatively basic and do not necessarily reflect the real challenges and environment that a stem-cell derived graft would enter into if transplanted into a patient.

This project focuses on developing the in vivo rodent models used for transplantation to determine whether these additional factors could influence the development and/or function of the graft.

The aim of the project is to produce clinically relevant data to:

  • understand the striatal factors that influence graft viability and function
  • use this to identify patients for whom transplantation is likely to yield the highest chance of success.

Outline of techniques

  • In vivo: Neurosurgical lesioning and transplantation of rodent, behavioural assessment,
  • Ex vivo and in vitro: stem cell culture and differentiation, immunohistochemistry of brain tissues with microscope based analysis.

Entry requirements

The academic entry requirement is the equivalent of an upper second class Honours degree in a related science subject. If English is not your first language, you will need an overall score of 6.5 in IELTS. Find out more about English language qualifications.

This PhD project is open to applicants with a requirement for bench fees of £18000 per annum.

Find out more about tuition fees.


Dr Emma Lane

Dr Emma Lane

Senior Lecturer in Neuropharmacology & Director of Postgraduate Research

+44 (0)29 2087 4989

Programme information

For programme structure, entry requirements and how to apply, visit the Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences programme.

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