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Understanding how age and gender influence the development of Alzheimer’s disease

This project seeks to understand the inter-relationship between age and gender and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, incurable, neurodegenerative disease. It is characterised by increasing memory loss and is associated with very high socioeconomic costs.

Current treatments only affect the symptoms and eventually stop working, thus new therapies are urgently needed. However, to identify new targets for potential drugs, we need to understand more about how the disease is caused.

The most important risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease is age, but we do not understand how increasing age causes this disease. A second important risk factor is being female as about 63% of people with Alzheimer’s disease are women. Again, the relationship between gender and disease development is poorly understood.

Project aims

This project aims to determine, firstly, the importance of age and gender for the expression of a variety of proteins in pathways implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease such as oestrogen receptor signalling. Human brain samples from men and women of different ages and from people with Alzheimer’s disease and healthy age-matched controls will be used.

The second aim is to understand how changes in oestrogen receptor signalling can influence the production of several proteins crucial to the development of Alzheimer’s disease in neuronal-like cells and in neurones derived from people with and without Alzheimer’s disease. Potentially these studies could identify novel targets for the development of drugs to treat this debilitating disease.

Outline of techniques

Ex vivo and in vitro: To include Western blotting and ELISA; immunohistochemistry of brain tissues with microscope based analysis; immortalised and primary cell culture and differentiation; reporter assays; receptor pharmacology; siRNA; qRT-PCR.

Additional costs

This PhD project is open to applicants with a requirement for bench fees of £15,000 per annum.


Dr Emma Kidd

Dr Emma Kidd

Dean of Postgraduate Studies, College of Biomedical and Life Sciences

+44 (0)29 2087 5803

Programme information

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

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