3 Year Full Time Studentship - Early Evolution of Gene Duplicates

Oxford Brookes University - Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU

Closing date: 12 January 2018 (midnight UK time)

Start Date: September 2018

Value p.a.: Bursary of £14,500 for 2017/18 and fees.

Main supervisor: Dr, Saad Arif (sarif@brookes.ac.uk)

Second supervisor: Dr. Maria Daniela Santos Nunes (msantos-nunes@brookes.ac.uk)

Brief description of project:

Gene duplication is a major evolutionary mechanism leading to novel gene function and phenotypic diversity. However, very little is known about the period shortly after the duplication event. Molecular evolution studies suggest that gene dosage is an important contributory factor in determining whether new duplicates become fixed or not. However, in metazoans this evidence is largely based on statistical inference based on extant population data.

In this project, we aim to test the effect of gene dosage on the fate of new gene duplicates in an experimental framework using Drosophila melanogaster.

The research project student will generate tandem gene duplications, deletions and non-functional mutants using the CRISPR/Cas9 system and other transgenic tools to target both genes likely to result in genes with dosage-sensitive functions as well as genes that are expected to display less sensitivity to dosage. The effect of the newly generated transgenic alleles will be measured by conducting fitness assays and functional genomics to quantify transcription (qPCR, RNAseq) and enhancer interactions (4C-seq).

As part of their Studentship, any successful applicant will be required to undertake up to 6 hours undergraduate teaching/demonstrating a week during semesters on undergraduate practicals without further remuneration. Training will be given.

For inquiries please contact either

Dr Saad Arif (sarif@brookes.ac.uk)


Dr Maria Daniela Santos Nunes (msantos-nunes@brookes.ac.uk)

Requirements: Applicants should be of the highest quality and capable of submitting a PhD thesis within 3 years. Applicants should have a first class or upper second class (minimum 2.1) honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or an acceptable equivalent qualification. EU Applicants must have an IELTS Academic test certificate with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued since 12 January 2016 by an approved test centre. We will consider alternative acceptable evidence of English Language ability.


Application procedure:

Applications only to hlsapplications@brookes.ac.uk

Download application form:


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