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A UCL, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, Institute of Healthy Aging Project

PhD Studentship: “Metformin in Alzheimer’s Disease”

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship to be hosted in the Institute of Healthy Aging, at UCL, to start October 1st 2021.
Project: Metformin, a drug used to treat type II diabetes has shown promise both as an antiageing drug and as a drug to treat a number of diseases associated with ageing. Its role in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) however is controversial. Metformin has shown promise in a small scale clinical, however, it also leads to deleterious side effects which preclude it from being used as a drug for AD. This project proposes to differentiate the benefits from the detrimental effects of metformin, to inform the development of a more targeted drug.

We have shown that metformin can dramatically ameliorate the climbing and lifespan phenotypes associated with a Drosophila melanogaster model of Aß toxicity. This suggests that metformin can modify downstream Aß pathogenicity. This project proposes to identify the molecular pathways responsible for this rescue using data from a published yeast screen and testing in our fly AD model. The pathways identified will be confirmed in our fly models and in primary cells line derived from AD patient’s, in collaboration with Prof Selina Wray.

Funding: The studentship is funded by The Alzheimer’s Society and will cover UK fees and an annual stipend of £17000 for the first year, raising to £18000 in the second and third.

Entry requirements: Applicants should have a strong interest in dementia research and have or expect to obtain a 1st or upper 2nd class honours degree in any scientific discipline. Candidates from underrepresented minority ethnic backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply.

Candidates short-listed for interview will be required to give a short research presentation.

Informal enquiries: Please email Dr Teresa Niccoli for further information about the project (
Application procedures: Application is by CV and covering letter emailed to
Closing date: 3rd May

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