PhD Studentship: Analysis of chromosomal interactions during genetic recombination

University of Sussex - Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry

A Ph.D. studentship (42 months) is available from September 2017 in the group of Dr Matt Neale, Genome Damage and Stability Centre, School of Life Sciences.

Deadline: 13th January 2017

This exciting PhD opportunity will investigate the three-dimensional architecture of chromosomes during meiotic genetic recombination using the sexually reproducing eukaryotic model system, Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Core questions: What is the three-dimensional structure and architecture of chromosomes during meiosis? How does it arise, develop and change during meiotic prophase? How does this influence genetic recombination?

Why is this research important and timely? Meiotic chromosomes are proposed to develop into a unique repeating superstructure of chromatin loops tethering at their base to a structural (axial) core. Yet, to date, few experiments have directly measured the presence of this repeating structure, nor assessed how this organisation may change during meiotic prophase and how it may influence genetic recombination.

We recently demonstrated that the evolutionarily conserved DNA damage checkpoint kinase Tel1/ATM is involved in the spatial regulation of meiotic recombination events in S. cerevisiae (Garcia et al, Nature 2015). Importantly, our study suggests that Tel1 prevents recombination events from clustering within these chromosome loop domains. In this manner, the organisation of the chromosome directly influences the final distribution of recombination events across the genome — something that is important for both maintaining genome stability during gametogenesis, and also for controlling the extent of genetic diversity that is created within haploid gametes. Understanding these evolutionarily conserved processes is thus of great relevance to both health (fertility) and evolution (biodiversity).

Who should apply? Science graduates specialising in the field of molecular biology, genetics, and informatics are strongly encouraged to apply. Those with a keen interest, experience and aptitude in the analysis of high content data, including computer scripting in R, Matlab, Python, Perl etc would be especially suitable.

Environment: The successful candidate will join the lab of Dr Matt Neale, a dynamic research team focussed on investigating the molecular regulation of genetic recombination and DNA repair. The Neale lab is housed within the internationally renowned Genome Damage and Stability Centre, a collection of 15 teams that share common research interests and research infrastructure. Successful candidates will have the opportunity to forge both internal and external collaborations during the course of the project.

To be considered for this studentship you will need to submit a formal application using our online application system at, please choose PhD Genome Stability and specify the project and supervisor when asked in the form.

The application should include a CV, statement of interest and the names of two academic referees. UG/PG transcripts may be required; candidates for whom English is not their first language will need to provide confirmation of their IELTS result. This School funded position, which covers fees and a stipend at standard RCUK rates, is open to Home/EU applicants with a Biological Science/Computational BSc, 2.1 or higher qualification.

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South East England