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PhD Studentship: Is Bigger Better? Dissecting the Development and Function of Drosophila Melanogaster Eyes

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

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Oxford
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £18,622 p.a.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 18th January 2024
Closes: 26th February 2024

3 Year, full-time PhD studentship (Nigel Groome Studentship)

Eligibility: Home UK/EU and International applicants

Bursary p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (current 2023/24 bursary rate is £18,622)

University fees and bench fees: University fees and bench fees will be met by the University for the 3 years of the funded Studentship. Visa and associated costs are not funded. International applicants can visit https://www.brookes.ac.uk/students/isat/ for further information.

Closing date: 26 January 2024

Interviews: Tbc

Start date:  September 2024 

Project Title: Is bigger better? Dissecting the development and function of Drosophila melanogaster eyes

Director of Studies: Dr Maike Kittelmann

Supervisors: 

Requirements:

Entry requirements: Applicants should have a first or upper second-class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification. EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate (or equivalent) with an overall minimum score of 6.5 to 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre. 

The studentship requires you to undertake the equivalent of up to 6 hrs of teaching per week on average, during semester time, and to include preparation and marking (but no more than 20 hrs per week), and to participate in a teaching skills course without further remuneration.

Project Description:

Organ size must be tightly regulated to ensure optimal functionality. The size of insect compound eyes is determined by the number and the size of the ommatidia but how the overall eye size is regulated and affects vision is still not well understood. This project aims to understand how differences in the visual system arise during development at the genetic and cellular levels and characterise the impact on vision and behaviour in the model species Drosophila melanogaster. This will involve morphological characterisation of compound eyes and neuropils across different Drosophila melanogaster populations with light and electron microscopy as well as 3D microCT scans. Genes that are differentially expressed will be tested using the GAL4/UAS system and CRISPR/Cas9 and vision will be modelled and tested in collaboration with Prof. Mikko Juusola (University of Sheffield) via intracellular recordings of photoreceptors, microsaccade measurement and behavioural experiments in flight arenas.

The supervisor team has extensive experience in Drosophila genetics, imaging, development, and vision. The student will be embedded in a larger group of Drosophila labs at Oxford Brookes and benefit from shared facilities as well as close collaborations with the Centre for Functional Genomics and the Centre for Bioimaging. 

Contact: maike.kittelmann@brookes.ac.uk

How to apply: Applicants should visit the project webpage to download instructions on how to submit an online application, under 'How to apply' button on the Oxford Brookes vacancy page. You will be routed to this when you click on the above “Apply” button. Enquiries about the application process can be sent to: hls-applications@brookes.ac.uk 

Advertised competitively alongside our current Nigel Groome PhD studentship advertisements for Biological and Medical Sciences. Part time MPhil/PhD study will be exceptionally considered (Home Fee status applicants only).

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