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BBSRC White Rose DTP Studentship - Is regeneration of an organ simply a recapitulation of its initial development?

   School of Biosciences

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  Dr H Roehl, Dr Ben Steventon  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The study of regenerative biology aims to elucidate the innate ability of organisms to replace tissues or organs after they have been removed or damaged. During regeneration, regenerative organisms such as salamanders and fish redeploy existing developmental gene networks during regrowth of tissue. Non-regenerative organisms fail to activate developmental genes and this may in part explain their lack of regeneration. By understanding how developmental gene networks are activated and regulate tissue regrowth in regenerative organisms we may one day improve regenerative medicine approaches for patients.

This project aims to define the relationship between development and regeneration by comparing zebrafish tail development to larval tail regeneration. Larval tail regeneration takes place immediately after tail development and with a conservation in overall anatomy, it offers an ideal opportunity for direct comparison. We have recently identified a member of the TGFbeta superfamily as a key regulator of both of these processes. This project will utilize high content light-sheet microscopy, genetic manipulation and RNAseq to understand how TGFbeta signalling regulates both processes. By comparing how stem cell activity is regulated by TGFbeta in vivo, we aim to create a new paradigm in the field of regenerative biology.  

This project is part of a collaboration between the Roehl Laboratory (University of Sheffield) and the Steventon Laboratory (University of Cambridge).

 The BBSRC WR DTP and the University of Sheffield are committed to recruiting future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and we have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills.

Note: Relocation costs for international students to the UK (visa, insurance, NHS fees, flights, etc) will be the responsibility of the student 

 Entry Requirements: Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this programme means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any biological, chemical, and/or physical science, or students with mathematical backgrounds who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological questions. 

 Click to apply

Programme: PhD in Mechanistic Biology (4 years)

Start Date: 1st October 2023

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed mid February 2023

Funding Notes

This project is part of the BBSRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology. Appointed candidates will be fully-funded for 4 years. The funding includes:
• Tax-free annual UKRI stipend (£17,668 for 2022 starts)
• UK tuition fees (£4,596 for 2022)
• Research support and training grant (RSTG)
We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK and 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


1) Fulton et al. Current Biology. 30:15, P2984-2994 (2020)
2) Romero et al. Nature Comms 9:4010 (2018)

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