Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is recognised as a disease with significant chronic neuroinflammation, and is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians, affecting more than 300,000 people. The term ‘neuroinflammation’ is generally applied to chronic, central nervous system (CNS) specific, inflammation-like glial responses that causes neurodegeneration. Chronic microglial activation (T-cell independent neuroinflammation) has been described in many neurodegenerative diseases including AD. Accumulating evidence points at neuroinflammation as an emerging treatment target in AD. Consequently, targeting chronic neuroinflammation has been suggested as a disease-modifying treatment for many neurodegenerative diseases including AD.
To combat chronic neuroinflammation, drugs with a broader range of anti-inflammatory effects, other than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, may be more effective. Curcumin not only exerts a broad range of CNS specific anti-inflammatory effects, but penetrates into the CNS and is safe in humans and rodents. Highly bioavailable curcumin formulations (encapsulated in liposomes or micelles) such as Meriva (Indena) can achieve µM concentrations in the brain. Human clinical trial data indicate that Meriva curcumin exerts effects on muscular pain, osteoarthritis, psoriasis and cancer, but evidence for its anti-inflammatory effect in the CNS is still limited.
Chronic neuroinflammation leads to progressive neurodegeneration, and a decline in motor skills and cognitive function in the GFAP-IL6 mouse model, which can be ameliorated by CSAIDs, such as curcumin.
Aim 1. To determine effects of Meriva curcumin on the motor and cognitive function of the GFAP-IL6 mice.
Aim 2. To determine effects of Meriva curcumin on the neuroanatomical features of the brain, including microglia and neuronal numbers, morphology, and synaptic degeneration.
Aim 3. To measure the curcuminoid content of the brain and blood of the treated animals.
What does the scholarship provide?
Domestic candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000 per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs, supported by the Research Training Program (RTP) Fee Offset.
International candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000 per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs. Those with a strong track record will be eligible for a tuition fee waiver.
Support for training, conference attendance, fieldwork and additional research costs as approved by the School.
International candidates are required to hold an Overseas Student Health Care (OSHC)(opens in new window)insurance policy for the duration their study in Australia. This cost is not covered by the scholarship.
We welcome applicants from a range of backgrounds, who are keen to apply their skills to key issues in neuroscience. In particular, the project is suitable for candidates with strong interests in behavioural neuroscience, neuroanatomy and neuropharmacology.
The successful applicant should:
hold qualifications and experience equal to one of the following (i) an Australian First Class Bachelor (Honours) degree, (ii) coursework Masters with at least 25% research component, (iii) Research Masters degree, or (iv) equivalent overseas qualifications.
demonstrate strong academic performance in subjects relevant to either/or behavioural neuroscience, neuroanatomy and neuropharmacology including stereology, behavioural testings on rodents.
have an understanding of the importance of microglial activation.
be willing to learn analytical techniques applicable to neuroanatomy, behavioural neuroscience and neuropharmacology.
be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level.
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