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Applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to decode complex patterns of DNA methylation (HALLE20DTP1)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, November 25, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

In plants DNA methylation plays an important role in regulating gene expression. DNA methylation can also act as a “soft mutation” creating phenotypic variation. Decoding complex patterns of methylation is a key challenge if we are to understand and harness this variation for crop breeding. This project aims to take a data driven approach, bringing together large amounts of open data, then using and develop machine learning algorithms to identify methylation sites or patterns critical for regulating gene expression in multiple plant species.

The project is a collaboration between experts in epigenetics, genomics and bioinformatics at the Earlham Institute and cutting-edge practitioners in machine learning at the John Innes and IBM Research who will co-supervise the project. There will also be the opportunity for a 3-month placement at IBM Research based at the Daresbury Scitech Labs near Warrington.

We strongly encourage applications from biologists interested in computational biology or computer scientists interested in applied problem solving.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 7th, 8th or 9th January 2020.

The NRP DTP offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second-class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Funding Notes

For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website: View Website. Full Studentships cover a stipend (2019/0 rate: £15,009pa), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

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