What goes wrong with electrical signalling in MND?

Last year, we introduced a PhD Studentship that we are funding at the University of St Andrews. Under the supervision of Dr Gareth Miles and Prof Siddharthan Chandran, the student working on this project, Amit Chouhan, is investigating why electrical signalling goes wrong in MND.

As the project enters its second year, Amit and the team have made some important discoveries… Continue reading

30 chapters of MND research

During MND Awareness Month (1-30 June), we will be publishing a new post each day. Our ‘Project a Day’ series will celebrate the whole range of areas in which the MND Association funds research.

Thanks to the generous donations of our supporters, we currently fund over 80 research projects, across five themes:

  • Causes: These projects aim to understand what causes the motor neurones to die. This is essential to allow the development of treatments.
  • Models of MND: One way in which to understand the function of a gene and how this goes wrong in disease is to use a model. These projects aim to develop new and better models of MND to understand the causes of MND.
  • Healthcare: These projects aim to increase the quality of life of people living with MND, as well as improving care. These projects have a direct impact on people living with MND here and now.
  • Markers of disease progression: There is currently no diagnostic test for MND and no specific ‘biomarker’ to monitor the disease. These projects aim to find a marker of disease progression to speed up diagnosis, prognosis and disease monitoring of MND.
  • Developing treatments: These projects aim to test the effectiveness of potential treatments, from laboratory stage to the clinical trial environment.

Continue reading

Nurturing the future of MND research – new opportunity for researchers

We are pleased to announce that as well as applications for our next round for PhD Studentship applications, we are also accepting applications for our brand new Non-Clinical Fellowship scheme. These fellowships are aimed at early career researchers across a range of disciplines, allowing them to take the reins of their very own research project. University of NottinghamMNDA ResearchPicture by Vicky Matthers iconphotomedia Continue reading

Running the 10K for MND research

MND Association part-funded PhD Student, Dr Tamlyn Watermeyer passed her PhD viva in February 2014. Here she writes about her 10K run in aid of the MND Association.

The last time I ran in a race was at my school’s sport day. I came stone last. In fact, while completing the 1200m the umpire started the next scheduled race while I ran past the 800m point because I was taking too long. Embarrassed but stubborn, I finished that 1200m; later salvaging my pride with a familiar cliché: “it’s not about wining; it’s about participating” – a handy outlook developed from always being picked last for the volleyball team. Fast forward a decade later, I still showed little athletic promise but, spurred on by New Year’s Eve merlot, I publicly declared my 2014 resolution to run a 10K in aid of the MND Association. So… publicly, there was no way out of the intense training schedule… Continue reading

Searching for Budding New Researchers – PhD Studentship Applications

It’s that time of year again when we open our Online Summary Application Form for our next round of PhD studentship applications, for projects starting in October 2015.  The deadline for summary applications is Friday 2 May 2014.

Last Time

Our last round saw an all time record number of studentship applications.  We received 24 summary applications and went on to fund five of these – attracting new researchers and institutes.

Victoria Pugh, one of our current PhD students

Victoria Pugh, one of our current PhD students

Promising Young Researchers

Our PhD studentship grants allow us to attract and fund promising young scientists starting their careers in MND research and to help us continue to develop the UK basic research capacity.  As with all our research projects, we aim to fund the ‘best of the best’.  Our rigorous application process allows us to ensure we only fund studentships of the highest quality and of direct relevance to MND.  To find out more on our application process please see our website.

We are currently funding 14 studentships, with five of these due to start in October 2014.

We hope this year’s PhD studentship round is as exciting as last year!

More Information

For further information on our studentship grants, please see our research we fund information sheet. For more details on how to apply for a PhD studentship, please see our how to apply for funding.

Improving Riluzole for MND

Victoria Pugh is studying for her PhD at the Universities of Bradford and Reading, which is funded by the MND Association. Under the leadership of Prof Marcus Rattray she is looking at the drug riluzole and how to make it better. Victoria also presented a poster of her research during the 24th International Symposium on ALS/MND in December 2013. Here, Victoria explains her project and the life of a PhD student.

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Victoria (right) with Belinda during the poster session in Milan

How did I get here?

My interest in biology started at school and from this I decided to study biomedical sciences at university. While doing my undergraduate degree I became particularly interested in all aspects of neurodegenerative diseases, from their biological basis to their effects on patients. As well as learning about the pathology of Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s Disease I also had the opportunity to meet people living with them, which further rooted my interest.  On graduation I was given the opportunity to study for a PhD based on treatments for motor neurone disease (MND).

Continue reading

A Time for New Researchers to Blossom – PhD studentship Applications

It is that time of year again when we open our Online Summary Application Form for our next round of PhD studentship applications, for projects starting in October 2014. The deadline for summary applications is Friday 3 May 2013.

Last Time
Our last round saw an all time record number of studentship applications. We received 18 summary applications and went on to fund five of these attracting new researchers and institutes.

Promising Young Researcher
Our PhD studentship grants allow us to attract and fund promising young scientists starting their careers in MND research and to help us continue to develop the UK basic research capacity. As with all our research projects, we aim to fund the best of the best. Our rigorous application process allows us to ensure we only fund studentships of the highest quality and of direct relevance to MND. To find out more on our application process please see our grant application process.

We are currently funding 15 studentships; five of these are due to start in October 2013.

We hope this year’s PhD studentship round is as exciting as last year!

More Information
For further information on our studentship grants, please see our research we fund and for more details on how to apply for a PhD studentship. Please see our how to apply for funding.

May The Fourth Be With You – PhD Studentship Applications

Spring has finally sprung and so it’s now time to open our online summary application form for our next round of research grant applications.

This round is for PhD studentship applications, for projects starting in October 2013. The deadline for summary applications is Friday 4 May 2012.

Attracting promising researchers
Through our successful PhD studentship programme we have a track record of attracting and funding promising young scientists to develop their careers in MND research. Since 1998 we have funded 30 studentships, 12 of these are currently ongoing.

We need to continue to develop the UK basic research capacity by attracting more young scientists to develop careers in MND research. We can do this by funding PhD studentships.

Funding the best of the best
As with all of the research projects funded by the MND Association, our rigorous application process allows us to ensure we only fund studentships of the highest quality and of direct relevance to MND.

The way that we fund research starts with a summary application, which is a concise outline of the proposed project. After the deadline date has passed a decision is made as to whether the summary is relevant to ‘classical’ MND and the project aims fit with our Research Strategy. If the summary does not fit, it’s rejected. If all criteria are met, the summary is reviewed by our Biomedical Research Advisory Panel (BRAP).

The reviewer’s comments and scores are then assessed using a two thirds majority rule. Each reviewer scores the summary application. A score under 50 is classed as unsuitable for funding, if it’s over 50 then the applicant is invited to submit a full application.

We hope this year holds an exciting round of PhD studentship applications!

More information:

For further information please see the Prize PhD Studentship Flyer or visit our website www.mndassociation.org