PhD Studentship – Understanding the Genetic Mechanisms Underpinning the Inheritance of Mitochondrial DNA

Reference Code: HG048

Closing Date: 18th October 2013

Name of the supervisors: Professor P Chinnery, Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University

Sponsor: ITN Marie Curie Action

Duration of the award: Three year PhD

Project description

Mitochondrial European Educational Training (MEET) intends to educate a young generation of scientist in the appreciation and dissection of the multifaceted aspects of mitochondrial medicine, to implement up-to-date and innovative technologies and integrated 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. MEET will ensure that the health market be fed with all-round young clinicians and investigators whose soft skills, that the projects intends to fully develop along with a thorough technical portfolio, will allow a smooth enrolment in health institutions, industry and Academia.

The PhD student would work on the molecular and genetic mechanisms underpinning the inheritance of mitochondrial DNA. For some time it has been known that 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. Using novel animal and cellular models, the student will study the segregation of mitochondrial DNA within the developing germline, 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.

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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).

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.

Person Specification

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

How to Apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application form selecting ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences – Human Genetics’ as the programme of study. Once you have selected the programme, 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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