PhD Studentship: Genetic Regulation of Stem Cell Differentiation In Vivo by Single-Cell Sequencing of Planarian Cells

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: Dr Jordi Solana

Single-cell sequencing methods will revolutionize the functional and comparative study of stem cells. The flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea is a very promising model for in vivo stem cell biology thanks to its large number of stem cells that continuously differentiate to all adult cell types and that enable its amazing regenerative capacities. We have previously used single-cell transcriptomics to reconstruct the differentiation lineage tree of planarian stem cells. However, the mechanisms that orchestrate this differentiation in vivo are not well understood. There is strong evidence that these mechanisms are conserved at least in part from planarians to humans. The use of model organisms such as planarians will therefore be key to study the fundamental biology of stem cells and their evolution. We will use RNAi-mediated gene knockdown in combination with single-cell transcriptomics. Whole worm systemic RNAi is a powerful and scalable tool to knockdown gene expression in planarians. Subsequently, single-cell sequencing will allow profiling stem cells, progenitors as well as fully differentiated cells and studying the effects of the knockdown at the single-cell level. This will allow elucidating the effect of several transcriptional, posttranscriptional and epigenetic regulators in the self-maintenance and differentiation output of planarian stem cells.

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: Dr Jordi Solana (jsolana@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 12th January 2016 by an approved test centre. We will consider alternative acceptable evidence of English Language ability.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/491093/2016-01-11_-Approved_Secure_English_Language_Tests_and_Test_Centres_-_Website.pdf

Application procedure:

Applications only to hlsapplications@brookes.ac.uk

Download application form:
(http://www.hls.brookes.ac.uk/images/research/phd-studentship-application-form-jan-14.doc)

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

South East England