Undergraduate summer studentships

Jennifer Rowles Studentships

These projects are internally funded and only open to University of Leeds students.  Candidates will be selected by the academic leading the project, based on their application and CV and may be invited to take part in an informal interview.  The stipend offered to undergraduate students is £180 per week.

Project Leader/Project Docs Project Details

Professor Jim Deuchars


Identifying and modulating production of new cells in the spinal cord

We have recently discovered that we can use particular chemicals to induce or reduce the production of new cells in the spinal cord. In the long term we hope to harness this neurogenesis to repair conditions in which the spinal cord malfunctions, such as in spinal cord injury, motor neuron diseases or multiple sclerosis. This project will investigate the effects of particular treatments on neurogliogenesis in the spinal cord, aiming to convert the new cells to neurones and/or glia.

Techniques: Tissue culture, immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy, histological tissue sectioning

Dr Ian Wood


Therapeutic potential of HDAC inhibitors for multiple sclerosis

Recently, inhibitors of histone deacetylase enzymes (HDACs) have been identified as having potential therapeutic value for a range of neuronal disorders including multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases [1]. The HDAC inhibitors have been shown to have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties yet their mechanism of action remains unidentified. We have recently shown that microglia activation by a number of insults (eg LPS, interferon and Amyloid beta) can be reduced by HDAC inhibitors [1]. Using siRNA we have identified HDAC1 and HDAC2 as the important HDAC enzymes for this response [1]. Whilst still don’t know the mechanism by which HDAC inhibitors block microglia activation we have shown that it doesn’t require new protein synthesis so is unlikely to be a result of the well characterised effect of these inhibitors on increasing gene expression.  We are currently investigating the cellular mechanism(s) involved in the inhibition and identifying the molecular targets we think are involved such as NF-Kb, PTEN and STAT1. We use a lot of molecular and biochemical techniques to uncover the important mechanisms at play and the project would suite a student with an interest in biochemistry or the molecular aspects of biomedical sciences or biology. Work in this project is likely to involve; the use of cell culture methods, expression and visualisation of GFP fusion proteins, functional assays to quantify cell responses such as proliferation as well as molecular approaches to quantify cytokine production and changes in gene and protein expression.

1.            Durham, B.S., R. Grigg, and I.C. Wood, Inhibition of histone deacetylase 1 or 2 reduces induced cytokine expression in microglia through a protein synthesis independent mechanism. J Neurochem, 2017. Oct;143(2):214-224