Fully Funded Studentship How do muscles get their stripes? (MUNSTERBERG_U14DTP)

University of East Anglia – School of Biological Sciences (UEA)


29 November 2013. Available from 1 October 2014. 


Professor Andrea Munsterberg

The Project:

Striated muscle cells, including skeletal and cardiac myocytes, have a highly organized, semi-crystalline cyto-architecture. This complex structure of myofibrils provides contractility and is essential for cellular function; in ageing or degenerating muscles the organization of myofibrils is often perturbed. This project will investigate how this complex cyto-architecture is established in the first place.

We will study this in developing chick embryos, which are easily accessible and can be manipulated using gain- or loss-of function approaches. This will be complemented by approaches using myogenic cell lines and primary cardiomyocyte cultures. We will also examine how myofibril organization is maintained in differentiated and functional muscle cells. In particular, we will investigate the role of a novel protein, a member of the Kelch family, in myofibrillogenesis. This Kelch protein is expressed in early embryos and its expression is restricted specifically to developing cardiac and skeletal muscles. We have used a yeast-2-hybrid screen and biochemical methods (GST pull-down and Mass Spec) to identify potential interaction partners for Kelch. In muscle cells Kelch associates with the actin cytoskeleton. We also discovered an interaction with the canonical Wnt signaling pathway, which is important in both skeletal and cardiac development as well as in the regulation of adult muscle stem cells.

Also Read  PhD Studentship: Development of a Steerable Endovascular Catheter with Tactile Feedback

This raises the possibility that extrinsic signalling cues may be relayed to the contractile apparatus via Kelch protein. Overall this project will use in vivo, cell based and biochemical techniques to assess the mechanisms by which Kelch and its interacting proteins control myofibrillogenesis.

Entry Requirements:

2:1 or 2:2 plus Masters. English Language – IELTS 6.5 overall with 6 in each category.


Due to funding restrictions funding for PhD studentships from BBSRC is available to successful candidates who meet the UK Research Council eligibility criteria including the 3-year UK residency requirements. These requirements are detailed in the BBSRC eligibility guidelines:


In most cases UK and EU nationals who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the course are eligible for a full-award. Other EU nationals may qualify for a fees only award. All candidates should check to confirm their eligibility for funding.

The current stipend for 2013/14 is £13,726 per annum.

Making Your Application:

For further information and to apply, please visit the ‘How to Apply’ page on our website by clicking Apply.

Additional Information:

In keeping with the postgraduate training policy of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) all students recruited onto this programme will be required to undertake a three months internship during the second or third year of their study. The internship will offer exciting and invaluable experience of work in an area outside of research, and full support and advice will be provided by a professional team from the UEA.

Also Read  PhD Fellowship Ionic Properties of Porous Organic Molecules

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) – a collaboration between the Norwich Biosciences Institutes and the University of East Anglia.  Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the Studentship Competition.  The interview dates will be the 14th and 15th January 2014.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *