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You are here : Home / Stories / PhD Opportunities – Edinburgh Neuroscience

PhD Opportunities – Edinburgh Neuroscience

The University of Edinburgh is providing two funded PhD opportunities within “Edinburgh Neuroscience”, to be based in Malawi:

1. Identifying the genetic architecture of depression in African ancestry populations


The successful applicant will develop a project examining the genetic architecture of major depressive disorder (MDD) in African ancestries. They will have access to genetic data from samples collected within Africa, as well as those collected from African American and African European individuals residing in high-income countries. The student will examine the polygenicity of MDD within these contexts, and the genetic overlap of depression with obesity, education and other traits through the use of polygenic profiling and ldscore regression. The student will also learn how to perform a GWAS meta-analysis of MDD and methods of combining individuals of diverse ancestries

A background in genetics or bioinformatics would be desirable. Individuals with a background in psychology or neurosciences will also be considered where there is a strong quantitative component. 

2. Examining the effects of parental mental health, adversity and nurture on child development in Malawi


The successful applicant will develop a project examining parental mental health, adversity (e.g. poverty, violence) and positive nurturing care, and their relationship to child growth and neuro-development. The student will be able to investigate genetic, in-utero and postnatal effects with data collection within the Generation Malawi family/birth cohort, a joint UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and Wellcome Trust funded longitudinal study of mental and physical health in families in Malawi. The student will have access to training in systematic literature review, and appropriate quantitative and qualitative methods,

 A background in mental health, child development and/or epidemiology would be desirable. Individuals with a background in public health or neurosciences will also be considered.


The successful applicants will be expected to be resident in Malawi for the majority of the programme with study periods in the UK for research training. The proposed studentships would therefore suit someone either living in Malawi wishing to undertake supported training by a UK university, or someone looking to relocate their base to Malawi.

Applications to be made via the web-links above. Deadline 31st March 2021. Interviews likely to be in the second week of April for an October 2021 start.

Please contact Dr Robert Stewart at this email address if you would like to discuss further: robert.c.stewart@ed.ac.uk.