BBSRC DTP MRes/PhD Studentship Understanding Microtubule Dependent Signalling in the Generation of Cellular Asymmetries

Reference Code: CB106


Name of the supervisors
Dr J Rodriguez, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences (ICAMB)

Dr E Veal, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences (ICAMB)

This studentship is sponsored by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) as part of the Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)

Duration of the award
Four years (MRes Biosciences followed by a three-year PhD)

Project description
The aim of this project is to understand the microtubule (MT) dependent mechanisms that regulate cell polarity and their implications for complex processes such as ageing.

By breaking symmetry, cells are able to generate diversity, migrate, and organise themselves into more complex structures. In such cell polarity processes, MTs often act as an internal source of asymmetry leading to acto-myosin reorganisations and asymmetric distribution of polarity effectors (PAR proteins). Polarity maintenance is crucial for tissue homeostasis and when lost it can lead to cancer. In addition, accumulating evidence suggests that loss of polarity could be a hallmark of cellular ageing.

In previous research we have generated a comprehensive polarity genetic network, identifying candidate genes and signalling pathways important for cell polarity (NatCellBiol.2012 vol.15(1) pp.103-12). Exploiting this network the student will identify proteins involved in the MT dependent mechanisms that regulate C.elegans asymmetric first cell division. This cell division has proved an excellent model for identifying key conserved polarity regulators and understanding cell polarity mechanisms. To characterize the candidate genes we will perform loss of function analysis by RNAi in combination with live imaging and immunofluorescence staining of polarity and MT markers. Genetic screens will be carried out to determine the signalling pathways involved and to analyse their possible relationship to lifespan regulatory genes.

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The supervisory team?s expertise in C. elegans (JR,EV), cell polarity (JR) and ageing (EV) will provide a comprehensive research environment that will support the scientific growth of the student and his training in state-of-the-art molecular and cell biology techniques.

Value of the award and eligibility
Depending on how you meet the BBSRC?s eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award. A full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of ?13,726 (2013/14). A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

Person specification
Candidates should have or expect to achieve a first-class or upper-second-class Honours degree in a relevant science subject. Students interested in developmental biology, cell polarity and in cell biology/microscopy techniques are encouraged to apply.

How to apply
You must apply through the University?s online postgraduate application form selecting ?Master of Research/Doctor of Philosophy (Medical Sciences) ? Cell and Molecular Biosciences ‘ as the programme of study. Please insert the studentship/partnership reference number CB106. Only mandatory fields need to be completed (no personal statement required) but you must attach a copy of your CV and a covering letter, quoting the title of the studentship and reference number CB106.

Closing date for applications
The post will remain open until a suitable applicant is appointed. Early application is advised.

Further information
For further details, please contact:
Dr J Rodriguez
Telephone:+44 (0) 1223 767 224

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