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Dissecting the mechanism of RNA regulation by Held out wings (HOW) and impact on spermatogenesis

   Faculty of Biological Sciences

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  Dr J Aspden, Dr A Bretman, Dr E Thomson  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Stem cell therapy has to potential to revolutionize the way we treat human disease. But success will rely upon developing our understanding of stem cell biology. Stem cells function both to produce differentiated cells and maintain a stem cell population. The Drosophila testis is an ideal model in which to study germ stem cells and their niche. Regulation of gene expression is vital in controlling the balance between self-renewal and differentiation. Recent experiments indicate that mRNA translation regulation plays a dominant role in maintenance whilst alternative mRNA splicing is essential to differentiation.

This project will investigate the role of RNA-binding proteins in the regulation of mRNA translation events in the testis and their importance to germ stem cell function. The molecular mechanisms underlying this control of protein synthesis will be characterized through biochemical (Astbury Biostructure Laboratory) and genetic analysis. The extent of mRNA translational regulation with be assessed using Next Generation Sequencing taking advantage of bioinformatics support and training (LeedsOmics).


You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper-second class honours degree or a MSc degree in a relevant subject.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Biological Sciences minimum requirements in IELTS and TOEFL tests are:

  • British Council IELTS - score of 6.0 overall, with no element less than 5.5
  • TOEFL iBT - overall score of 87 with the listening and reading element no less than 20, writing element no less than 21 and the speaking element no less than 22.

How to apply:

To apply for this project applicants should complete an online application form and attach the following documentation to support their application. 

  • a full academic CV
  • degree certificate and transcripts of marks
  • Evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (if applicable).

To help us identify that you are applying for this studentship please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;

  • Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
  • When asked for source of funding please make it clear that you are applying for a "White Rose BBSRC DTP Studentship"
  • Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert. You can be considered for up to 3 projects in total.

If you have any further queries regarding this opportunity, please contact [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This opportunity is funded by the White Rose BBSRC DTP and will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £17,668 (based on the 2022/23 rate). The award will also cover academic fees. This opportunity is available to UK and International fee rated applicants. Please note that any expenses related to the relocation of international students to the UK (visa, insurance, NHS fees, flights, etc) would be their responsibility and are not covered by this award.

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