PhD Studentship: Elucidating the molecular pathways through which an
unhealthy diet contributes to sight loss.
Clinical and Experimental Sciences
Location: Southampton General Hospital
Closing Date: Friday 19 August 2022
Main Supervisor: Dr J. Arjuna Ratnayaka
Other members of the supervisory team: Professor Andrew J. Lotery and Dr
Amount of stipend and fees: The first year at £16,062.00 increasing each
year for three years at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) rates. Due to
funding restrictions this position is only open to UK applicants.
Duration of the award: Full-time 3 years (36 months) 1st October 2022
until 30th September 2025
Project description: Applications are invited for an exciting new PhD
studentship funded by Sight Research UK. Age-related macular degeneration
(AMD) is a complex blinding disease, where a combination of genetic and non-
genetic risk factors, such as an unhealthy diet, results in the irreversible
loss of central vision. The project builds on our published work to elucidate
the molecular pathways of damage to the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and
associated tissues in the outer retina. The student will use a combination of
in-vitro cell as well as mouse models and must be willing to work with mice.
Techniques such as cell and molecular biology, histology, biochemistry as well
as imaging will be used for the project. Non-invasive retinal scans will also
be obtained from living mice. Potential discoveries could provide new
information on diet-induced disease pathways in the retina that predisposes
individuals to AMD, and whether such effects could be reversed through better
nutrition. This knowledge could also inform public health campaigns, thereby
help reduce the burden of sight-impairment and blindness in the UK. The
successful applicant will join a dynamic research team consisting of
undergraduate/postgraduate research students and postdocs. The candidate is
expected to be highly motivated with an excellent work ethic.
Please contact: Dr J. Arjuna Ratnayaka (J.Ratnayaka@soton.ac.uk)
Person Specification: See here
The successful candidate is likely to have the following qualifications:
A 1stor 2:1 degree in a relevant discipline and/or second degree with a
A willingness to work with mice (suitable training and monitoring will be
Fees and stipend for UK applicants for the duration of the project (36
months). The project is available on a full-time basis only. Non-UK students
need not apply.
Please see attached T&Cs of Sight Research UK (see also link to the funder
site: https: // www. sightresearchuk.org/)
Administrative contact and how to apply:
Please complete the University's online application form, which you can find
https: // studentrecords.soton.ac.uk/BNNRPROD/bzsksrch.PLogin?pos=7201&majr=7201&term=202223
You should enter Dr J. Arjuna Ratnayaka as your proposed supervisor. To
support your application provide an academic CV (including contact details of
two referees), official academic transcripts and a personal statement
(outlining your suitability for the studentship, what you hope to achieve
from the PhD and your research experience to date).
Informal enquiries relating to the project or candidate suitability should be
directed to Dr J. Arjuna Ratnayaka (J.Ratnayaka@soton.ac.uk).
Closing date: 19th of August 2022
Interview date: Tuesday 13th of September 2022
Job Description and Person Specification