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Neurodegeneration-associated protein TAU: Novel regulation during the DNA damage response and links to p53.

  • School: School of Science and Technology
  • Starting: 2023 / 2024
  • Funding: Self-funded


Tau is a protein that regulates microtubule stability and dynamics and is involved in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease - which is the most prevalent form of Dementia. There is significant evidence of an inverse correlation between Tau levels and cancer, however knowledge regarding the function and regulation of Tau in human cancers is lacking. The tumour suppressor p53 is a transcription factor that plays a pivotal role in the prevention of cancer. The ability of p53 to suppress tumourigenesis is mediated through a transcriptional response to cellular stress (including DNA damage) that involves a variety of outcomes including, cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, DNA repair and metabolic control. Our work has uncovered novel links with Tau and p53 activity during the DNA damage response in human cancer cells and at the genetic level in Tauopathy (Human Tau overexpressing) models in Drosophila.

This research programme will build on our recent data regarding the regulation of Tau
during the DNA damage response and relation to p53. This research will uncover novel links with cell death during the DNA damage response and reveal mechanistic links with p53 and TAU in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. The project will combine both human cancer cell line models with Drosophila genetic models to provide knowledge essential to our understanding of fundamental aspects of cell and molecular biology and the relation to human diseases such as cancer and neurodegeneration. This project will leverage underpinning current research in the laboratories of Dr Amanda Coutts and Dr Shreyasi Chatterjee; both part of the Centre for Health, Ageing and Understanding Disease (CHAUD) which encourages multidisciplinary research and has a diverse and supportive postgraduate community.,-ageing-and-understanding-disease-chaud.

Application enquiries:

Dr Amanda Coutts; Cancer biology, immunology and therapeutics (

Dr Shreyasi Chatterjee; Neurodegenerative Diseases (

Entry qualifications

Applicants should hold, or be expected to hold, an UK Master’s degree (or UK equivalent according to NARIC) with a minimum of a commendation, and/or a UK 1stClass / 2.1 Bachelor’s Honour’s Degree (or UK equivalent according to NARIC) in Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, or a related Biosciences related subject.

How to apply

For a step-by-step guide and to make an application, please visit our how to apply page.

Fees and funding

This PhD is self-funded.

Guidance and support

Further guidance and support on how to apply can be found on this page.

Still need help?

Dr Amanda Coutts