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(BBSRC DTP) Negative transcriptional regulators in human cells

   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

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  Dr Pawel Grzechnik, Prof Mark Ashe  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The aim of the project is to investigate how factors involved in mRNA synthesis alter gene expression in human cells.   

Precise control of transcription and RNA processing is essential for the correct regulation of gene expression in all eukaryotic organisms. While the activation of transcription is widely studied, knowledge about the transcriptional repression is comparatively limited. The downregulation of transcription allows reduction of gene expression by limiting RNA synthesis. This can be achieved by premature transcription termination, decreased transcription rates or increased promoter-proximal RNA Polymerase II (Pol II) pausing. The persistent presence of Pol II on the gene allows for a rapid shift from an “off” to “on” state when needed. Such transitions are essential for survival strategies including stress responses and cellular signalling.  

A successful candidate will study the functions of human RPRD (Regulation of Nuclear mRNA Domain-Containing) proteins (RPRD1B, RPRD1A and RPRD2) which have been identified in our lab as negative transcription factors. RPRDs belong to the family of important transcriptional regulators interacting with RNA Polymerase II, are present on actively transcribed genes and their levels corelate with the cellular transcription rates. Moreover, increased expression of RPRDs is associated with human disorders. 

Thus, the project will dissect the mechanistic details of RPRD-dependent transcription downregulation with a special focus on processes mediating transition from transcription initiation to elongation The outcome of this research will help to better understand how gene expression is regulated in human cells.  


Applicants must have obtained or be about to obtain a First or Upper Second class UK honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science, engineering or technology.  

Before you Apply 

Applicants must make direct contact with preferred supervisors before applying. It is your responsibility to make arrangements to meet with potential supervisors, prior to submitting a formal online application.  

How To Apply 

To be considered for this project you MUST submit a formal online application form - full details on eligibility how to apply can be found on the BBSRC DTP website  

Your application form must be accompanied by a number of supporting documents by the advertised deadlines. Without all the required documents submitted at the time of application, your application will not be processed and we cannot accept responsibility for late or missed deadlines. Incomplete applications will not be considered. If you have any queries regarding making an application please contact our admissions team [Email Address Removed]  

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion  

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website  

Funding Notes

Studentship funding is for 4 years. This scheme is open to both the UK and international applicants. We are only able to offer a limited number of studentships to applicants outside the UK. Therefore, full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.
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