PhD Studentship Molecular determinants of haplotype-dependent proinsulin expression

Supervisors: Dr I Vorechovsky, Professor C G Proud, Professor J Holloway

Background and project:

The studentship is funded by Diabetes UK ( and aims to study genetic predisposition to type 1 diabetes (T1D) conferred by allele-dependent proinsulin expression. T1D is an autoimmune disease characterized by self-destruction of pancreatic beta cells, resulting in insulin deficiency. We are studying naturally occurring variants in the proinsulin gene (INS) that are responsible for differential INS expression from T1D-predisposing and -protective haplotypes and are investigating trans-acting factors that interact with these variants and influence coupled processes of RNA processing and translation. We will extend these analyses to characterize these interactions further and scrutinize their therapeutic potential, with the ultimate goal of reducing the risk of T1D. The project mainly involves experimental work, exploiting a variety of methods in molecular and cellular biology, including DNA manipulation, RNA interference and footprinting, ultra-violet light crosslinking and gel shift assays. References: Diabetes 55:260-264; Nucleic Acids Res 35:6399-6413; Nat Rev Genet. 8:711-23.

The environment:

Successful candidate will receive training in a range of techniques in molecular biology and will engage in the Faculty’s postgraduate programme. The student will be supervised and guided by staff who are experienced in molecular and cellular biology and bioinformatics, pre-mRNA splicing and mRNA translation. For further information see: and


A studentship is available for 3 years. The student will be paid an annual stipend of £15,000 in year 1 and 2 and £16,000 in year 3. In addition, Diabetes UK will cover PhD fees at the European Union (EU) rate. If the successful applicant is from outside the EU, the non-EU Studentship rates will be covered only up to the equivalent cost for the EU rate.

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Applicants should have, or be expected to obtain, a First or Upper Second class Honours degree in Biochemistry or Biological Sciences, or equivalent. For international students, English language qualifications are required; please check the International Students section at Informal enquiries should be made to Dr Vorechovsky (, formal applications must be made via the ‘Apply’ button below.

The closing date for this position is midday on 15.07.2013, with interviews to be held in August or September. The studentship is expected to commence on 1 October 2013, but the start date is negotiable.

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