PhD Studentship: Applying novel bioinformatic and computational approaches to explore the regulatory genomic consequences of genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's disease

University of Exeter - Complex Disease Epigenetics Group

The causes of Alzheimer’s disease are highly complex, involving both inherited (genetic) and environmental risk factors. Despite great advances in identifying regions of the genome that contain genetic variants which predispose an individual to Alzheimer’s disease, we know very little about the specific genes involved or the way in which they bring about the changes in the brain that underlie the progression of neuropathology. Funded by the Alzheimer’s Society, the student will use extensive genetic and molecular datasets generated by our group and collaborators, and employ cutting-edge bioinformatic and computational approaches to investigate the extent to which genetic risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease influence molecular processes in the brain. The successful candidate will possess a strong statistical or mathematical background, and an interest in applying their knowledge to biomedical research.

The student will be based within the Complex Disease Epigenetics Group at the University of Exeter Medical School. We are an interdisciplinary team including molecular biologists, mathematicians and bioinformaticians.

Academic Supervisors:
Professor Jonathan Mill
Dr Eilis Hannon.

Interview date: Monday 30th January 2017.
Funding Notes: The studentship will be fully-funded for UK/EU students, including a stipend of £15,000 per annum in year one (based on the full-time 16/17 rate), and £16,000 per annum subsequently. Tuition fees will be paid at the UK/EU rate. Candidates from countries outside the European Union are welcome to apply but must have certified and guaranteed means to fund the international portion of the fee.

Entry requirements: Applicants should have, or expect to obtain, either a first or upper-second class BSc (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline. We would be particularly interested in applications from individuals with a strong background in mathematics and/or statistics. International applicants must also have IELTS [International English Language Testing System] score of 7 and above (or equivalent qualification).

How to apply: Please be aware you will be asked to upload the following
Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project.
Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English (entry requirements)

Only candidates shortlisted for interview will be contacted.

References related to project:
Hannon E et al. (2016) An integrated genetic-epigenetic analysis of schizophrenia: evidence for co-localization of genetic associations and differential DNA methylation. Genome Biol 17: 176

Hannon E et al. (2015) Methylation QTLs in the developing brain and their enrichment in schizophrenia risk loci. Nat Neurosci

 Lunnon K et al. (2014) Methylomic profiling implicates cortical deregulation of ANK1 in Alzheimer's disease. Nat Neurosci 17: 1164-70

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