PhD in Neurophysiology


Dr Dervla O'Malley, Cork
Closing date: 
22 September 2017
Dr Dervla O'Malley

Candidates are being sought for a PhD position on a Health Research Board, Ireland funded study, entitled ‘Monoclonal xIL-6R antibodies as a treatment for memory dysfunction in the mdx mouse model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.’

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic disorder that affects ~ 1 in every 3,600 live male births. The disease is characterised by progressive muscle weakness, disability, immobility and premature death. Symptom manifestation is due to a genetic mutation in the dystrophin gene, which leads to loss of muscle function and chronic inflammation, with elevated levels of immune signalling molecules such as interleukins (IL)-6. However, boys with DMD often also have lower intelligence quotients and deficits in verbal memory. Therefore, the aim of the proposed programme of research is to investigate a potential therapeutic intervention to improve cognitive dysfunction related to dystrophin deficiency. The pre-clinical mdx mouse model of DMD will be used to assess the potential role of IL-6 in memory formation using behavioural assessments, electrophysiological and imaging techniques and Western blotting.

The primary focus of the postgraduate student will be research, however they will also undertake 15 credits of taught modules focussing on generic and transferable skills (e.g. project management, business skills, and presentation and writing skills).

Stipend: €18,000 per annum for a three-year period. Fees are covered.


  • Minimum 1st class or upper second class honours BSc degree in Physiology, Neuroscience or related Bioscience subject.
  • Appropriate technical competence and accomplishment. Appropriate research experience would be viewed favourably.
  • A capability of working within a project team to achieve results.
  • Good communication, organisation and interpersonal skills.
  • A commitment to gaining practical experience working on a research project.
  • Fluency in English and excellent communication, organisation and interpersonal skills.
  • Be detail orientated and take direction well.
  • Be goal orientated.
  • A desire to strive for high quality work and to demonstrate commitment to the programme.


To Apply:

Please submit:

  1. a short cover letter,
  2. a one-page perspective on your opinion of cognitive dysfunction in DMD and
  3. a C.V.

to Dr Dervla O’Malley, Lecturer and Principal Investigator, Department of Physiology,, 021 4205483 on or before the closing date 22nd September 2017 , with a view to starting in October 2017.

Supplementary Information on the Department is available at