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Computational approaches for understanding regulatory dynamics across the circadian cycle


   School of Biosciences and Medicine

  , ,  Friday, July 22, 2022  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a 3.5 year full-time industrial doctoral studentship co-funded by the University of Surrey (Surrey Sleep Research Centre) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The studentship is a collaborative partnership between GSK and the University of Surrey. GSK is a science-led global pharmaceutical company. GSK undertakes research and development in a broad range of innovative products in the primary areas of Pharmaceuticals and Vaccines and is committed to the mission of improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer (see www.gsk.com). University of Surrey is a world class university with an impressive international reputation in academic excellence in research and teaching.

In this biological informatics PhD project, we will address the new challenges presented by Gene Regulatory Network (GRN) inference from single-cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) data, in terms of the volume and distribution of data, and temporal dynamics, including between cell variation. To achieve this, we will produce foundational scRNA-seq data collected across the circadian cycle, assess the synchronisation and variance between cells, establish a computational framework for the circadian contextualisation of scRNA-seq data, develop computational methods that leverage temporally sorted scRNA-seq data to model the circadian dynamics of GRNs and produce a temporal GRN model for T-cells, a central cell in the immune response that displays circadian rhythmicity.

To the PhD candidate this PhD project will provide:

  • An opportunity to briefly work in the laboratory to understand the biology and experimental approaches underpinning the project
  • A multi-disciplinary supervisory team able to support all aspects of the research programme
  • Training in single-cell data analysis from leaders in the GSK computational biology group
  • Industry experience
  • Opportunity to work at the forefront of dynamical modelling

As a doctoral student, you will primarily be based at University of Surrey. You will have opportunities to gain valuable research experience in both an academic and an industrial setting with appropriate research supervision provided by both the Academic and Industrial supervisors throughout the course of this collaborative research project. The collaboration will involve you spending a minimum of two-months at a GSK research facility.

Both GSK and the University of Surrey are passionate about recruiting the best talent irrespective of their background. In fact, we strongly encourage applicants from all backgrounds (social, cultural and educational) for interview. We are proud of championing the virtues of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). We believe that no capable candidate should ever receive more favorable treatment, than any other, on the grounds of sex or gender assignment, physical or mental disability, marital status, HIV status, sexual orientation, pregnancy status, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, or religion or belief. All assessments are made on merit and merit alone. We have support systems in place to protect the physical and mental health well-being of all our staff and students. Moreover, we will make every effort to accommodate your personal circumstances, by adopting a flexible working/study pattern, to enable you to progress in your career whilst at the same time managing your personal circumstances such as e.g. parenting or caring responsibilities, health-issues and overcoming any hindrances due to cultural expectations. If you have the motivation to succeed, we will work with you, irrespective of your background or personal circumstances.

Supervisors: Prof Simon Archer, Dr Natalie Riddell, Dr Tom Thorne, Dr Emma Laing (GSK).

Entry requirements

Open to UK students starting in October 2022.

Minimum of 2:1 in relevant first degree (e.g. Biology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Computer Science). Master’s degree (e.g. Bioscience/biomedicine, bioinformatics, health informatics, data science, medical statistics). Desirable qualities include; excellent verbal and written communication skills, experience in analysing omics data or other high-dimensional datasets, programming experience, teamwork experience, awareness of the values of equality, diversity and inclusion.

English language requirements: IELTS Academic 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category, or equivalent. More about our English language requirements.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Biosciences and Medicine PhD programme page on the ‘Apply’ tab. Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application. Please also email a copy of your CV and personal statement (outlining your suitability for the project, what you hope to achieve from the PhD, and your research experience to date) to .


Funding Notes

Stipend starting £16,077 with £4,000 enhancement. In addition, £650 pa will be allocated for attending scientific meetings. Fees are paid and there is a generous consumable budget. Funding for 42 months. Jointly funded by the University of Surrey and GSK.

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