Three new Brain Research UK PhD studentships awarded

Every year, we offer aspiring graduates the opportunity to apply for one of our PhD studentships.

Thanks in large part to the huge fundraising success of the Brain Research UK 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon team, who together raised a phenomenal £518,000, we were able to offer funding to three talented candidates in 2018.

Amazing fundraisers

The amazing people who run marathons for us usually have a deeply personal motivation for doing so. Usually that they themselves, a family member, or close friend are affected by a neurological condition. This spurs them on through the long months of gruelling training, to literally go the extra mile to raise as much money as possible for research. People like William and Alison Woods, who decided to join our 2018 London Marathon team because of their sister Barbie, raising the incredible sum of £8,253! 

Their hard-earned funds are now being put to extremely good use in support of our research. We work hard to ensure that every penny raised is well-spent. Our research grants are awarded in open competition, involving expert peer review and scrutiny by our Scientific Advisory Panel. We look for research that is not only scientifically strong but that is likely to deliver real benefits for patients in the short- to medium- term.

Research leaders of the future

The three new Brain Research UK PhD students - Rhiannon Barrow, Oakley Morgan and Franziska Mueller – embark on their PhDs this Autumn. Between them they cover all three of our priority research areas: acquired brain and spinal cord injury, brain tumours, and headache and facial pain.

Whilst each research project is important in its own right, equally important is that we are nurturing the development of promising young scientists,  who we hope will go on to develop long and illustrious careers in these under-researched and under-resourced fields.

Above, left to right: Rhiannon Barrow - Franziska Mueller (with supervisor Simone Di Giovanni) - Oakley Morgan

Rhiannon Barrow, University of Leeds

Rhiannon’s research is focused on the devastating brain tumour glioblastoma. Based in the thriving brain tumour research environment at St James's University Hospital, Rhiannon is working under the supervision of Dr Lucy Stead to try to unravel the mechanisms by which tumour cells evade treatment. This could open up new ways to attack the tumour. Read more. 

Franziska Mueller, Imperial College London

Franziska is carrying out her research in the world-leading labs of Professor Simone di Giovanni at Imperial College London. Her research aims to promote the regrowth of severed nerve fibres (axons) in the spinal cord, following injury. She will build on research previously conducted in this lab, which has found a way to switch on genes that stimulate regrowth of some severed axons. Read more. 

Oakley Morgan, University College London

Oakley is working under the supervision of Dr Sandrine Géranton in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at University College London, investigating the mechanisms linking orofacial pain and headache with stress. These are debilitating conditions that have a significant negative impact on quality of life and, in most cases, no effective treatment. We hope that Oakley’s research will advance our understanding of how we can treat them more effectively. Read more. 


Looking for PhD funding?

Our next call for applications will be issued in September 2019, for studentships starting the following year. To be notified of the launch of this call, please email  


Thank you to all our supporters for helping to accelerate the progress of neurological research.