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A molecular analysis of centrioles, centrosomes and cilia

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  • Full or part time
    Prof J Raff
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Centrioles are barrel-shaped structures that organise the assembly of two crucial cell organelles: centrosomes and cilia. Centrosomes are the major microtubule (MT) organising centres in many animal cells, and they have an important role in cell division, in establishing and maintaining cell polarity and in positioning and transporting molecules and organelles within the cell. In many terminally differentiated cells, the centrioles organise a primary cilium, which plays a crucial part in cell signalling and in mechano- and chemo-sensation. There is increasing evidence linking the dysfunction of centrosomes and cilia to a plethora of human diseases, including cancer, microcephaly (small brain size), obesity and macular degeneration. Understanding the basic molecular mechanisms that regulate the assembly and function of these organelles is therefore important from both fundamental biological and clinical perspectives. Using Drosophila as a model system, we are developing sophisticated live-cell imaging and computational techniques combined with molecular, genetic and biochemical approaches to investigate the organising principles that underlie the assembly of these beautiful structures, and how these are perturbed in human disease.

Funding Notes

4 Year DPhil Prize Studentships cover University fees, a tax free stipend of ~£17,009 pa, and up to £5,300 pa for research costs and travel. The competition is open to applicants from all countries. See for full details and to apply.


1. Aydogan, M.G., Steinacker, T.L., Mofatteh, M., Gartenmann, L., Wainman, A., Saurya, S., Wong, S.S., Zhou, F.Y., Boemo, M.A.*, and Raff, J.W.* (2019). An autonomous oscillator times and executes centriole biogenesis. BioRxiv, 510875. doi: 10.1101/510875

2. Alavarez Rodrigo, I., Steinacker, T.L., Saurya, S., Conduit, P.T., Baumbach, J., Novak, Z.A., Aydogan, M.G., Wainman, A., and Raff, J.W. (2019). Evidence that a positive feedback loop drives centrosome maturation in fly embryos. eLife. 8:e50130. doi: 10.7554/eLife.50130.

3. Aydogan, M.G., Wainman, A., Saurya, S., Steinacker, T.L., Caballe, A., Novak, Z.A., Baumbach, J., Muschalik, N., and Raff, J.W. (2018). A homeostatic clock sets daughter centriole size in flies. J. Cell Biol., 217, 1233-1248. doi:10.1083/jcb.201801014.

4. Feng, Z., Caballe, A., Wainman, A., Johnson, S., Haensele, A.F.M., Cottee, M.A., Conduit, P.T., Lea, S.M.*, and Raff, J.W.* (2017). Structural basis for mitotic centrosome assembly in flies. Cell 169, 1078-1089. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.05.030.

5. Conduit P.T., Wainman A., and Raff, J.W. (2015). Centrosome function and assembly in animal cells. Nature Reviews in Cell and Mol. Biol. 10, 611-624. doi: 10.1038/nrm4062.

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FTE Category A staff submitted: 223.80

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