Alzheimer’s Society Doctoral Training Centre PhD Studentship: APOE genotype and cognition in animal models (2018)

This studentship is part of the Alzheimer’s Society Doctoral Training Centre at Sussex whose programme of research focuses on understanding a risk gene for Alzheimer's, APOE4, and its effects throughout life. The student will be part of Sussex Neuroscience

Type of award

Postgraduate research

PhD project

The ApoE4 genotype is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, early in life, human ApoE4 carriers perform well on some tests of attention and memory – even outperforming non-ApoE4 carriers on some tasks. A contrast to this pattern is the case of spatial memory where both memory performance and fMRI markers of neuronal function indicate abnormalities in ApoE4 versus non-ApoE4 carriers.

This project will investigate the behaviour of mice carrying the human ApoE3 and ApoE4 genes across the whole lifespan. It will establish whether the same early pattern of changes in cognition that we see in humans occur in ApoE4 mice. By using a mouse model, where we can look across the lifespan in the same individuals, we can establish and model lifespan changes over 2 years that would take 90 years in humans. Focusing on specific cognitive tests susceptible to ApoE status in humans, we can identify the tipping point when brain activations show toxic consequences for cognitive performance, and investigate the underlying neurobiology. This work will provide a valuable preclinical model for discovering and assessing targets and therapies that could protect ApoE4 carriers from cognitive decline and subsequent AD.


A stipend of £15,000 p.a. for the first year, rising to £16,000 p.a. for the following 2.5 years. UK/EU
PhD fees and research and training costs are also covered.


  • This award will only pay fees at the Home/EU rate
  • Candidates must have, or expect to obtain, a First or a high Upper Second Class Honours undergraduate degree, or equivalent qualification, and/or a Master's degree in Psychology or a related discipline.
  • Only full-time students will be accepted.

Number of scholarships available



20 July 2018 0:00 (GMT)

How to apply

Guidance for applicants:

  • Application procedures
  • Submit your application online for the ‘PhD in Psychology’ programme for September 2018.
  • In the ‘Supervisor suggested by applicant’ section of your application form, please put: Sarah King.
  • In the ‘Proposed source of funding’ put: Alzheimer’s Society DTC.

Candidates should provide:

  • A research proposal that outlines your knowledge of the research area, hypotheses that could be addressed in your PhD, and an outline of potential methods. Your answer should not exceed 2 pages including references, be set at minimum 10-font type with margins a minimum of 1cm.
  • Current degree transcript(s) with full details of performance on all completed courses.
  • Two academic references.
  • An up-to-date CV.


The School of Psychology is one of the largest centres for the study of psychology in the UK. We have over 40 academic faculty, about 100 research students and the same number of postgraduate students taking Master's degrees. Our undergraduate intake is over 250 a year, which gives us an academic community of nearly 1000 people working in a rich and supportive learning environment.

Psychology is a diverse discipline and our size means that we span major research areas in social, cognitive, biological, developmental and clinical psychology. Psychology at Sussex was rated 10th in the UK for research in the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). 91% of our research at Sussex is ranked as world-leading or internationally significant.

The University of Sussex has strengths in all the major areas of modern Neuroscience and this research is distributed across a number of Schools of study, including the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. Sussex Neuroscience is a Research Centre that represents all neuroscience researchers on campus, from any School. In addition there are several multidisciplinary research groups whose work focuses on particular areas - a form of cooperation that is facilitated by our compact campus.

Contact us

For queries with respect to the application process please send an email for the attention of 'Postgraduate Coordinator' to:

To discuss the details of this PhD project further, please contact Dr Sarah King:


  • Application deadline: 20 July 2018
  • Shortlisting: 24 July 2018
  • Interviews: 19-20 July 2018
  • Start Date: September 2018


At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
20 July 2018 0:00 (GMT)
the deadline has now expired


The award is available to people from these specific countries: