Background: The ability to turn gene expression on and off is the founding principle the processes directing health and disease executed by large multi-protein machineries serving as repressors or activators. Identifying DNA interacting protein landscape has been critical for scientific progress and has facilitated wide reaching technological, agricultural and medical advances. This has largely been made possible thanks to the development of chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) methodology which revolutionised the field allowing scientists to identify all DNA bound to a protein of interest. However, ChIP-seq approach is protein centric and we currently lack technology to unbiasedly identify proteins bound to a DNA sequence of interest.
Objectives and Experimental Approaches: In this project you will develop a specific, standardised approach for the discovery of DNA binding proteins utilising the recent advances in Mass Spectrometry that provide high sensitivity. More importantly, our approach will be unbiased and, will not require prior knowledge of any regulatory binding sites for comparative analysis so that our technique may be used with any promoter or enhancer of interest. Furthermore, by employing different cell models we will be able to identify the interplay between repressing and promoting protein interactants on DNA sequences.
In this project you will apply the novel technology to answer a fundamental biological question; what regulates expression of meiotic synaptonemal complex genes at meiosis initiation and furthermore what controls their concerted and synchronised silencing across the genome after fertilisation and across somatic tissues. Consequently, this project will not only develop a new technology that will be made available to laboratories world-wide allowing the discovery of DNA protein-interactomes, but will also answer a fundamental biological question with implications for fertility, developmental biology and cancer.
Our interdisciplinary project will involve a unique breadth of training across three laboratories (see links below) with complementary approaches utilising our world-class facilities including cell biology, proteomics (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/pfg/), genetics (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/genomic-research/) and imaging techniques (https://cci.liv.ac.uk/); all providing training in quantitative skills. This project is suited to students who need flexible working arrangements. We invite, welcome and champion applications from minority backgrounds. A broad range of inter-disciplinary approaches will encourage innovative thinking and develop diverse technical expertise. Furthermore, this multi-disciplinary training will give the student a broad range of skills allowing them a wide choice of career options, both within and outside of academia, after the PhD.
In addition, the student will join our Molecular Physiology and Cell Signalling Department (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/translational-medicine/departmentsandgroups/cellular-and-molecular-physiology/about/) as a member of a supportive team of PhD and Post-Doctoral scientists with similar interests, participating regularly in broad ranging group meetings and scientific symposia.
Primary Supervisor -
Secondary supervisors –
Informal enquiries may be made to Dr Urszula McClurg: [Email Address Removed]