PhD Studentship in Rescue of Dysfunctional Lysosomes in the Retinal Pigment Epithelium

University of Southampton

United Kingdom

PhD Studentship in Rescue of Dysfunctional Lysosomes in the Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) as a New Dry AMD Treatment

Clinical and Experimental Sciences

Location: Southampton General Hospital

Closing Date: Friday 18 September 2020

Reference: 1282620FC
Main Supervisor: Dr J. Arjuna Ratnayaka

Other members of the supervisory team: Professor Andrew J. Lotery (FoM) and Dr David Tumbarello (Biological Sciences).

Amount of stipend and fees: Year 1: £15,385 to include incremental rise until year 3.

Duration of the award: 36 months (3 years), full-time

Project description:

Applications are invited for an exciting new PhD studentship funded by the UK Macular Society investigating how retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells become damaged in the eye. RPE cells play a critical role in vision as they look after the light-detecting photoreceptors. With increasing age, complex macromolecules accumulate within RPE which the cell struggles to remove efficiently. This is a major disease-causing pathway leading to irreversible blindness. The project will study how these toxic molecules build-up inside RPE and whether the cells’ degradation system can be boosted to prevent eventual RPE damage and atrophy. Findings from this work can pave the way for developing new treatments for common retinopathies such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) as well as rare retinal dystrophies. The successful applicant will exploit cellular and mouse models, employing molecular biology, biochemical and imaging techniques. The successful applicant will join a dynamic research group consisting of undergraduate/PGR students and postdocs. The candidate is expected to be highly motivated with an excellent work ethic and the successful candidate will be required to work with mice as part of the project which will include required training.

Informal inquires can be directed to the supervisor Dr J. Arjuna Ratnayaka ().

Please contact: Dr J. Arjuna Ratnayaka (

Person Specification: See below.

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 related Masters.
Candidates with a strong background/experience in cell biology are encouraged to apply.
Funding information:
Fees and stipend for UK/EU applicants for the duration of the project (36 months). The project is available on a full-time basis only.

Training programme

Access to training and development

Administrative contact and how to apply:

Please complete the University's online application form, which you can find at

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 ().

Closing date: 18th of September 2020

Interview date: 9th of October 2020

In your application, please refer to


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