New Funded PhD Partnership with RNID (Royal National Institute for Deaf People)

Sep 14, 2023

The Anatomical Society (AS) was pleased to announce our new partnership for 2022/23 with RNID (Royal National Institute for Deaf People) to fund a PhD studentship focused on the functional anatomy of deafness. In order to develop better treatments, we need to improve our understanding of the anatomy of the entire auditory system at all levels from system to intracellular, and at all stages of the lifespan from development to ageing. The partnership aims to encourage excellent students and supervisors to become involved in research to improve understanding of how the functional anatomy of the ear impacts hearing. This is an exciting new partnership for the Society. Moving forward, we will be announcing new partnerships with other charities, using anatomical knowledge to shed light on disease.

Following a rigorous application process, the RNID/AS are delighted to announce the winning project:

Project title: Mechanisms of sensory loss in Neurofibromatosis Type 2

Lead Supervisors:  Professor Dan Jagger (UCL) and Professor David Parkinson (University of Plymouth)

Significance of the research proposal in benefitting anatomical sciences research and promoting the interests of the Anatomical Society: This project aims to gain a better understanding of the anatomical relationships between glial cells and sensory neurons, and how these regulate neuronal survival. We will study a model of Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) as one such paradigm. It will employ high resolution techniques such as confocal microscopy and transmission electron microscopy to reveal the morphology, cell biology and physiology of mouse inner ear Schwann cells and other cells that normally express the tumour suppressor protein merlin, and determine the consequences of merlin loss in NF2. The project will include an anatomical comparison of tissue pathologies in humans and mice at the level of light microscopy. This work will provide a novel and detailed morphological analysis of sensory epithelia of the inner ear. The nominated student has already shown a flair for bench science within our lab. Given their previous background and training we feel they have the potential to use these techniques and study anatomical subjects throughout a career in science.