University of Hong Kong Featured PhD Programmes
Health Data Research UK Featured PhD Programmes
University of Reading Featured PhD Programmes

(BBSRC DTP) Revealing the role of Slit3 in cardiac and kidney development

Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

About the Project

Understanding the genetic pathways required during development is a fundamental step in discovering how alterations in those pathways can cause developmental malformations leading to birth defects. In our previous research we used a computational technology, machine learning, to predict which genes are associated with kidney development. Disrupting the function of these kidney development genes will likely lead to congenital renal tract malformations and potentially life-threatening childhood disorders. From our machine learning model, we found that the gene Slit3 is highly likely to be required for kidney development. Notably, this same gene has been already determined to be required for cardiac development. Mutations in Slit3 cause structural abnormalities in the heart, altering the formation of the ventricular septum. We therefore propose to investigate the developmental functions of Slit3, and determine how loss of Slit3 function causes malformations of the heart and kidney during gestation.

Slit proteins are ligands for Robo receptors. This signalling pathway is well-characterised in neural development, but less is known about the expression of receptor and ligand proteins during mammalian cardiac and kidney development. Therefore, examining the expression pattern of Slit3 in heart and kidney at several stages during development will be a key initial step in the investigations in this project. We also are well-placed to investigate Slit3 function during development, because we have two Slit3 mutant mouse lines that are ideal model systems for the evaluation of the requirements for Slit3 during gestation. Detailed characterisation of organ development in these mutant mouse models, and comparison to wild type controls, will form a substantial part of the project. Additionally, we will incorporate the use of bioinformatics methods to interrogate large datasets examining gene expression, human sequence variation, and protein-protein interaction (amongst others) to formulate a better understanding of the overlap between developmental pathways utilised in the formation of the heart and kidney. Combined, these approaches will provide insights into the requirements for Slit3 during development and the malformations that arise when Slit3 function is disrupted.

Entry Requirements:
Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.

UK applicants interested in this project should make direct contact with the Principal Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible. International applicants (including EU nationals) must ensure they meet the academic eligibility criteria (including English Language) as outlined before contacting potential supervisors to express an interest in their project. Eligibility can be checked via the University Country Specific information page (

If your country is not listed you must contact the Doctoral Academy Admissions Team providing a detailed CV (to include academic qualifications – stating degree classification(s) and dates awarded) and relevant transcripts.

Following the review of your qualifications and with support from potential supervisor(s), you will be informed whether you can submit a formal online application.

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

Funding Notes

Funding will cover UK tuition fees/stipend only. The University of Manchester aims to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK. We are able to offer a limited number of bursaries that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.

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 View Website

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here

The information you submit to The University of Manchester will only be used by them or their data partners to deal with your enquiry, according to their privacy notice. For more information on how we use and store your data, please read our privacy statement.

* required field

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

Search Suggestions

Search Suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2020
All rights reserved.