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Defining the dynamics of lineage segregations during human neuromesodermal axial progenitor differentiation

Project Description

Embryonic axis elongation is the process that gives rise to all cell types making up the body trunk. It is largely driven by a population of bipotent cells known as neuromesodermal progenitors (NMPs), which generate posterior neurectoderm (PNE) and paraxial mesoderm (PXM) cells, the building blocks of the spinal cord and the vertebral column respectively. Understanding how NMPs generate trunk cell types is a major research goal in human embryology and regenerative medicine as it would shed light on the causes of various birth defects and aid the establishment of cell replacement therapies employing NMP derivatives.
We have recently defined the optimal conditions for generating in the Petri dish homogeneous cultures of cells resembling embryonic NMPs from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), the in vitro counterparts of the very early human embryo. We have also established protocols for producing PNE and PXM cells from these hPSC-derived human NMPs (hNMPs). The aim of this project is to precisely define how these trunk cell types are dynamically generated, using our in vitro system in combination with quantitative biology and mathematical modelling approaches. We will also examine the effect of overexpressing and attenuating candidate regulators of axis elongation on hNMPs and their derivatives.

Science Graduate School
As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you’ll be part of the Science Graduate School. You’ll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You’ll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience the breadth of technologies that are used in academia,

Funding Notes

Entry requirements
First class or upper second 2(i) in a relevant subject. To formally apply for a PhD, you must complete the University's application form using the following link: View Website

*All applicants should ensure that both references are uploaded onto their application as a decision will be unable to be made without this information*.


(1) Wilson V, et al. Development. 2009; 136:1591-604.
(2) Tzouanacou E, et al. Dev Cell. 2009;17:365-76.
(3) Gouti M, et al. PLoS Biol. 2014;12(8):e1001937.
(4) Frith TJR, et al. eLife. 2018;7:e35786.

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Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.90

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