PhD Studentship: Biomarkers of senescence in the Seychelles warbler (RICHARDSON_U17DTP)

University of East Anglia - School of Biological Sciences

Start Date: 1st October 2017

Supervisor: Prof. David Richardson

Project description:

That individuals differ greatly in when, and how quickly, they senesce is clear - why they differ is not. Understanding what causes variation in senescence and, therefore, how this can be mitigated is of medical, veterinary and societal importance. Unfortunately, in most vertebrate animals measuring within-individual senescence, and what factors experienced over a lifetime impact it, is extremely difficult.

The student will use the Seychelles warbler system to test the efficiency of a range of traits that have been suggested to reflect an individual’s intrinsic condition and measure, or predict, within-individual senescence. The ability of these ‘biomarkers’ to determine which environmental factors have most impact on patterns of senescence will then be tested. Previous work in this species has shown that senescence occurs, and that telomere dynamics do, to some extent, reflect biological ageing. However various other potential biomarkers have yet to be tested.

The student will receive excellent general training from the thriving Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership and also gain an extensive range of technical skills including molecular techniques, next generation sequencing, animal handling and field skills, database manipulation, and statistical analysis. There will be an important fieldwork component on Cousin Island 

Supervised by Prof DS Richardson and Dr M Taylor at UEA and part of the Seychelles Warbler Project, a long-term research collaboration run by DS Richardson, Profs J Komdeur, (Groningen) T Burke (Sheffield) and Dr H Dugdale (Leeds) and in conjunction with Nature Seychelles.

Person specification: Experience with molecular techniques, fieldwork/bird handling, and a statistical aptitude, are desirable, although full training will be provided. 

Funding notes: Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,296 pa – 2016/7), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate, and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships, which when combined will equal a full studentship. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

Details on eligibility for funding on the BBSRC website:

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