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CHARACTERISATION OF ENHANCER DNA METHYLATION AND ITS IMPACT IN GENE EXPRESSION AND DISEASE

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, March 22, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee is a world-class academic institution with a reputation for the excellence of its research, its high quality teaching and student experience, and the strong impact of its activities outside academia. With 900 staff from over 60 countries worldwide the School provides a dynamic, multi-national, collegiate and diverse environment with state-of-the-art laboratory, technology and teaching facilities.

Applications are invited for a position as a PhD student in the laboratory of Dr. Kasper Dindler Rasmussen, to investigate epigenetic mechanisms underlying normal and malignant hematopoiesis. The Rasmussen lab is based in the Centre for Gene Regulation & Expression (GRE) within the School of Life Sciences in Dundee. To find out more please visit http://gre.dundee.ac.uk.

Leukemias are a group of cancer diseases arising from the blood-forming cells in the body. The gene encoding TET2, an enzyme important for removal of methylation of DNA, is often mutated in blood cancers but the molecular events leading to disease are poorly understood (Rasmussen and Helin 2016). Recent studies demonstrate that blood cells lacking TET2 are particularly prone to accumulate DNA methylation at specific genomic regions, also known as enhancers, which are important to control gene expression. In this project, we aim to uncover fundamental insights into the role of DNA methylation in enhancer function and couple this knowledge to blood cancers through the involvement of the TET2 DNA demethylase in these diseases. Ultimately, these studies may be the first steps towards a targeted therapy against TET2-mutated cancers.

You will have access to state-of-the-art technologies in biochemistry, genomics and proteomics as well as relevant in vivo models. We therefore provide an excellent environment for studies using in vitro culture systems as well as validation of newly discovered epigenetic mechanisms using in vivo models of hematopoiesis and leukemia. As such, the position is well-suited for candidates with a strong interest in basic biological science that also wish to work on research projects with a direct relevance to cancer.

Funding Notes

The successful candidate will be awarded a 4-year fully funded position, which includes salary.

Applicants should hold at least an upper second class degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline.

References

Rasmussen KD, Helin K. 2016. Role of TET enzymes in DNA methylation, development, and cancer. Genes Dev 30: 733–750. http://genesdev.cshlp.org/lookup/doi/10.1101/gad.276568.115.

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