We are pleased to announce the recipients of the three Brain Research UK PhD studentships awarded in 2021.
The three new Brain Research UK PhD students – Isobel Chick, Lauren Gay and Clarissa Rocca – embark on their PhDs this Autumn.
Whilst each research project is important in its own right, equally important is that we are nurturing the development of promising young scientists, who we hope will go on to develop long and illustrious careers in areas of neurological research that we have identified as been in particular need of funding: brain tumours, brain and spinal cord injury, and headache and facial pain.
Isobel has been awarded a Brain Research UK PhD studentship to enable her to pursue research into non-verbal aspects of communication in people with aphasia following stroke.
As a speech and language therapist, she is well aware just how debilitating speech and language difficulties can be.
During her PhD, she will work with supervisors Gabriella Vigliocco and Jeremy Skipper to advance understanding of how people with aphasia communicate, and to develop new, evidence-based interventions.
This could have a substantial impact on those left with language impairment following brain injury.
Lauren has been awarded a Brain Research UK PhD studentship to enable her to pursue research into medulloblastoma, the most common brain cancer in children.
There is an urgent need for new treatments that are both safe and effective for the treatment of medulloblastoma, and Lauren will be working with supervisor Amin Hajitou on the development of a new treatment approach that uses an engineered virus to cross the blood brain barrier and target tumour cells in the brain.
We hope that Lauren's work will demonstrate that this type of therapy has the potential to replace current invasive and toxic treatments, to drive up survival whilst protecting quality of life in young survivors.
Clarissa has been awarded a Brain Research UK PhD studentship to enable her to pursue research into the genetics of cluster headache, a rare headache disorder so painful that it is also referred to as the 'suicide headache'.
To work towards a cure for cluster headache, we first need to understand the causes. Working with supervisors Michael Hanna, Roope Manniko and Arianna Tucci, Clarissa aims to work out how two genes known to be associated with this disease actually cause the symptoms.
This will give an insight into new ways to treat the symptoms, which would be a tremendous step forward for those affected.
Brain Research UK PhD studentships are open to both clinical and non-clinical candidates, providing funding of up to £120,000 to cover fees, stipend and research expenses.
We will consider applications from prospective students proposing to carry out research that addresses areas of large unmet need and demonstrates a clear pathway to clinical impact in one of our three priority research areas: neuro-oncology, acquired brain and spinal cord injury, and headache and facial pain.
Find out how to apply: 2021 PhD studentship call