Job ID: 85869

Funded PhD position in the treatment of KCNT1 epilepsy

Position: Ph.D. Student

Deadline: 19 August 2022

Employment Start Date: 1 October 2022

Contract Length: 3 years

City: Leeds

Country: United Kingdom

Institution: University of Leeds

Department: School of Biomedical Sciences


Evaluating the efficacy of potassium channel inhibitors in a mouse model of KCNT1 epilepsy

Dr J D Lippiat, Dr S Clapcote, Dr J Johnston

About the Project
Pathogenic variants in the human KCNT1 gene, which encodes a neuronal sodium-activated potassium channel, cause severe and drug-resistant childhood epilepsy. We have identified novel pharmacological modulators of the KCNT1 potassium channel (Cole et al., 2020), which could be developed into therapeutics. We now have a mouse model of the disorder, which has been genetically engineered with a variant equivalent to a human patient. The aim of the project is to explore the effects of the novel chemicals and their potential for reducing seizure activity and other symptoms associated with KCNT1 epilepsy. Modulators will be assessed using cellular electrophysiological assays and evaluated for therapeutic action using the mouse model, by using a combination of optogenetic imaging and behavioural analysis. The project would suit a candidate with experience in the ethical use of animal models of human disease in neuroscience and/or pharmacology.

Applicants should have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. A Masters degree is desirable but not essential.

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

How to apply
To apply for this scholarship opportunity applicants should complete an online application form available here and attach the following documentation to support their application.

a full academic CV
degree certificate and transcripts of marks
Evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English language requirements (if applicable)
To help us identify that you are applying for this scholarship project please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;

Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert
For source of funding please state you are applying for an advertised Faculty Scholarship

Funding Notes
This scholarship will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £15,840 for up to 3 years, subject to satisfactory academic progress. The award will also cover the academic fees at the UK fee rate. Due to limited funding we can only consider applicants for this position who are eligible to pay academic fees at the UK fee rate.

Cole et al (2020) Structure-Based Identification and Characterization of Inhibitors of the Epilepsy-Associated KNa1.1 (KCNT1) Potassium Channel. iScience 23, 101100