PhD Studentship: Characterising Wnt Signalling Landscapes during Animal Development and Evolution

Oxford Brookes University - Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

3 Year Full Time studentship

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 £14500 (for 2017/18) and fees.

Main supervisor: Professor Alistair McGregor

Supervisor: Prof Alistair McGregor.


Wnt signalling regulates many important processes during animal development including cell division, differentiation and death. There are 13 families of Wnt ligands in animals and it is thought that they often act combinatorially in signalling ‘landscapes’ to regulate tissue development. However, the composition, functionality and developmental dynamics of Wnt signalling landscapes are poorly understood, and it is unclear how they evolve over time.

Aims: This project aims to characterise the Wnt signalling landscape used during the development of the genital imaginal disc in Drosophila melanogaster. This will involve RNA-Seq, studying the expression of Wnt components using in situ hybridisation, immunohistochemistry and bioimaging, and functional analyses using RNAi and CRISPR. The evolution of these Wnt signalling landscapes will be assessed by comparing D. melanogaster with other Drosophila species. This will help to understand how the focal Wnt signalling landscape has been subject to developmental systems drift and/or contributed to differences in male genital morphology between species.


Training will be provided at the nexus of wet-lab and computational biology: in genomic engineering using CRISPR/Cas9, molecular biology, Drosophila genetics, bioinformatics and bioimaging using the state-of-the-art facilities available in our department.

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.

Contact: Professor Alistair McGregor (

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 12th January 2016 by an approved test centre. We will consider alternative acceptable evidence of English Language ability.

Application procedure:

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