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Healthy brain ageing- The Role of Flavonoids in the Modulation of Monoamine Oxidases (MAOs) S&T59

  • School: School of Science and Technology
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2022
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2022

Project ID: S&T59

The largest predisposing factor for most chronic diseases, neurodegenerative disease and cancers is ageing, making ageing-related disease an urgent global health challenge. A recent large cohort study highlighted that intake of flavonoids significantly lowers all-cause mortality, including cardiovascular disease and cancer (1). Flavonoids are a class of phytochemicals and are found widely in plants, fruits and vegetables, as such, they have great potential to be used as nutraceutical agents to prevent disease and promote healthy ageing. The mechanism behind their protective properties is not fully understood, but one of the most important properties is their ability to act as antioxidants by scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS) (2).

Accumulating data suggest protein oxidation, build-up of oxidised proteins and protein aggregates accompanied by the impairment of the protein degradation pathways (including autophagy) play a major role in ageing (3). The main source of ROS in cells is mitochondria. Monoamine oxidases (MAOs) are mitochondrial enzymes that catalyse the oxidative deamination of amines (including dopamine and serotonin) and produce hydrogen peroxide and aldehydes as by-products, contributing to mitochondrial ROS (4). Recent research has identified some flavonoids that may have an inhibitory effect on MAO activity (5), but the extent and mechanism of inhibition has not been investigated. Brain cells, especially neurons, are highly susceptible to disrupted redox homeostasis due to their high energy requirements and weak endogenous antioxidant defence. The aim of this project is to investigate whether flavonoids modulate MAO activity/levels, protect brain cells against stressors and promote healthy brain ageing. Project will elucidate the role of flavonoids on MAO in a cell model of neurodegeneration. Project will use neuronal and glial cell models (including induced pluripotent stem cells) and a variety of techniques including mammalian cell culture, biochemical, molecular biology and high content live cell imaging/analysis.

Informal inquiries can be addressed to Dr John Dickenson or Dr Aslihan Ugun-Klusek.

School strategic research priority

This research aligns with the Sport, Health and Performance Enhance Research Centre, specifically in relation to both the Sport Performance Research Group and the recently formed Sport and Society Research Group. Furthermore, the work will be in collaboration with an international sports organisation, USA Field Hockey.

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

For guidance and to make an application, please visit our studentship application page. The application deadline is Friday 14 January 2022.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2022 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Download our full applicant guidance notes for more information.

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