PhD Studentship Uncovering the Genetic Mechanisms that Govern Mitochondrial DNA Inheritance in the Developing Germ-line

  • Reference Code: HG048

Closing Date: 19th January 2014


Name of the Supervisor
Professor Patrick Chinnery, Institute of Genetic Medicine

ITN Marie Curie Action 

Duration of the Award
Three year PhD

Project Description

In this project we aim to make fundamental advances in the understanding of the molecular and genetic mechanisms underpinning the inheritance of mitochondrial DNA from mother to child. For some time it has been known that within the developing female germ-line mitochondrial DNA goes through a “genetic bottleneck”. This is important because it can lead to massive changes in the inherited level of a pathogenic mitochondrial DNA mutation, which determines whether individuals are affected by mitochondrial diseases. The student using a combination of novel animal and cellular models, innovative technologies and integrated methodologies will focus on the segregation of mitochondrial DNA during the development of the female germ-line and identify novel drugs that can interfere with the process. This will hopefully lead to new treatments aimed at preventing mitochondrial DNA diseases in future generations.

This project is part of the Mitochondrial European Educational Training (MEET) that intends to educate a young generation of scientists in the appreciation and dissection of the multifaceted aspects of mitochondrial medicine, to implement up-to-date technologies and methodologies in the field of mitochondrial physiopathology to dissect disease mechanisms and generate animal models and to develop career pathways in order to fill in the current need for researchers with an all-round knowledge of both biological, clinical and managerial issues related to the rapidly emerging branch of mitochondrial medicine. MEET gathers centres of excellence in a unique network made up of clinically-focused, industrially-oriented and basic research groups dealing with a complex array of pathologies and patients, as well as drug development. This is an excellent opportunity for a student who wishes to fully develop the scientific skills along with a thorough technical portfolio to meet the demands of health institutions, industry and Academia.

Value of the award and eligibility

The award includes a three year employment contract of €38 000 (GBP equivalent) per year to be used to cover fees and living costs. The award also includes a mobility allowance (€800 – €1000 per month).

Person specification

The early scientific researcher (ESR) must be in possession of an upper-second-class Honours degree in biology, medicine, biotechnology or in any other life/natural sciences disciplines.

EU and international students are eligible to apply for the award. The applicants must not have resided or carried out their activity (work, studies, etc) in the UK for more than 12 months in the three years immediately prior to their recruitment.

How to Apply

You must complete the University’s postgraduate applications form (via the ‘Apply’ button below) selecting ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences - Medical Genetics’ as the programme of study. Please insert the studentship/partnership reference number HG048. 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 HG048.

Further Information

For further details, please contact: 
Professor P Chinnery
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 2418611

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