Funded PhD Opportunity Can anthocyanin rich diets (red raspberries) reverse the microvascular pathological changes and cognitive decline observed in the APP/PS-1 transgenic model of Alzheimer’s disease?

This opportunity is now closed.

Subject: Biomedical Sciences


Disruption and deregulation of the microvascular architecture is a common pathogenic mechanism in the progression of numerous chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease cancer and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A direct relationship can be readily observed between microvascular pathology and cognitive decline1,2.

Of significant interest in this regard, are recent micro-vascular casting studies in a murine model of Alzheimer’s which demonstrated that treatment with the drug liraglutide can return microvascular pathology to a wild-type state and improve cognition3,4. Berries have positive effects on aspects of cognition that cannot be fully explained by effects on either neurogenesis or inflammation5,6.

Given the anti-angiogenic activity of berry polyphenols, it is probable that raspberry polyphenols could ameliorate cerebral microvascular pathology and as a result improve cognition. To address this question, we will determine whether a diet rich in raspberries can reverse the microvascular pathological changes, beta-amyloid plaque formation and cognitive decline observed in the APP/PS-1 transgenic model of Alzheimer’s disease.


[1] Bouras et al  (2006). J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 65 235–244.

[2] Kitaguchi  et al (2007)  Neurosci Lett 417,128–131.

[3] Kelly et al (2015)  Microcirculation 22, 133-45.

[4] McClean  et al  (2011). J. Neurosci 31, 6587-6594.

[5] Carey et al (2017). Nutr Neurosci 20,:238-245

[6] Medda et al  P (2015). Microvasc Res  97, 167-180.

Essential Criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • First Class Honours (1st) Degree
  • Masters at 65%
  • Research project completion within taught Masters degree or MRES
  • Practice-based research experience and/or dissemination
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Work experience relevant to the proposed project
  • Publications - peer-reviewed
  • Experience of presentation of research findings
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement
  • Relevant professional qualification and/or a Degree in a Health or Health related area


    Vice Chancellors Research Scholarships (VCRS)

    The scholarships will cover tuition fees and a maintenance award of £15,009 per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). Applications are invited from UK, European Union and overseas students.


    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fees component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided).  For Non EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Launch of the Doctoral College

Current PhD researchers and an alumnus shared their experiences, career development and the social impact of their work at the launch of the Doctoral College at Ulster University.

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My experience has been great and the people that I have worked with have been amazing

Kieran O'Donnell - 3D printing of biological cells for tissue engineering applications

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Completing the MRes provided me with a lot of different skills, particularly in research methods and lab skills.

Michelle Clements Clements - MRes - Life and Health Sciences

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Throughout my PhD I’ve been provided with continuous support and guidance by my supervisors and the staff at the University.I’ve also received many opportunities to further enhance my professional development in the form of teaching experience and presenting my work at conferences which will aid in my pursuit of a career in academia or industry.

William Crowe

Key Dates

Submission Deadline
Monday 18 February 2019
Interview Date
Weeks commencing 11, 18, 25 March 2019


Coleraine campus

Coleraine campus
Our coastal and riverside campus focussing on science and health

Contact Supervisor

Professor Christopher Mitchell

Other Supervisors

Apply online

Visit and quote reference number #342930 when applying for this PhD opportunity