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Early-life redox-regulated events as determinants of the ageing process


Department of Biosciences

Dr Daphne Bazopoulou , Prof E Veal , Dr D Weinkove Friday, January 22, 2021 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Durham United Kingdom Biochemistry Genetics Molecular Genetics

About the Project

This BBSRC DTP studentship provides an exciting opportunity to use a diverse range of cross-disciplinary techniques and exploit the advantages of the C. elegans model system to elucidate new cell signaling mechanisms that protect against ageing. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are well-known for their ability to modulate redox-sensitive processes, while at non-lethal concentrations contribute to increased stress resistance and lifespan. Despite this established connection between ROS, stress resistance, and longevity little is known about the mechanism by which transient stressors increase lifespan or protect against age-related pathologies. Dr. Bazopoulou recently discovered an early-life naturally-occurring ROS signal which triggers an epigenetic switch to cause increased stress responses, improved redox homeostasis and ultimately prolonged lifespan. The fundamental question now is to understand how the transient presence of ROS exerts long-term effects that translate downstream into a pro-health and pro-longevity signal. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the candidate will identify the precise location and time window of this ROS signal, and how it interacts with known longevity-regulatory mechanisms to increase stress resistance and lifespan. Overall, this study will provide unprecedented insights into the new regulatory role of ROS as an epigenetic modifier, with the clear potential to identify late-stage interventions that promote healthspan and lifespan and protect against age-related pathologies.

The project offers the successful candidate an opportunity to gain experience through working alongside two supervisors with proven track records. Principal supervisor Dr Daphne Bazopoulou is an Assistant Professor at the University of Durham with expertise in ROS signaling and epigenetics. Co-supervisor Professor Elizabeth A. Veal, an established researcher based at Newcastle University has successfully used a combination of high throughput genetic screening and proteomic approaches in model yeast and C. elegans to identify and characterize novel ROS-regulated protein modifications with anti-ageing properties. Co-supervisor Dr Weinkove is an Associate Professor in Durham and CEO of Magnitude Biosciences with expertise in C. elegans heathspan assessment and generation of transgenics. Together, the supervisors will provide the candidate with well-rounded supervision and exposure to a wide range of cross-disciplinary techniques i.e. genome editing, RNAi, biochemistry, in vivo imaging using microfluidics, healthspan and lifespan assays.

As a new academic, Dr Bazopoulou is an active lab researcher and will provide hands-on training; it is not essential to have prior experience in C. elegans or in the techniques mentioned above as these skills will be taught during the project.

If you have any questions about the project or the research group, or would like to apply for the position, please send an enquiry email to and attach a CV.

HOW TO APPLY

Applications should be made by emailing with a CV and a covering letter, including whatever additional information you feel is pertinent to your application; you may wish to indicate, for example, why you are particularly interested in the selected project/s and at the selected University. Applications not meeting these criteria will be rejected. We will also require electronic copies of your degree certificates and transcripts.

In addition to the CV and covering letter, please email a completed copy of the NLD BBSRC DTP Studentship Application Details Form (Word

document) to , noting the additional details that are required for your application which are listed in this form. A blank copy of this form can be found at: https://www.nld-dtp.org.uk/how-apply.


Funding Notes

Studentships are funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) for 4 years. Funding will cover tuition fees at the UK rate only, a Research Training and Support Grant (RTSG) and stipend. We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from inside and outside the UK and are able to offer a limited number of bursaries that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.

References

Kim M., Knoefler D., Quarles E., Jakob U. ^, Bazopoulou D.^. Automated phenotyping and lifespan assessment of a C. elegans model of Parkinson's disease. Translational Medicine of Aging 2020 Volume 4: 38-44.
Bazopoulou D., Knoefler D., Zheng Y., Ulrich K., Oleson B., Xie L., Kim M., Kaufmann A., Lee Y-T, Dou Y., Chen Y., Quan S., Jakob U. Developmental ROS individualizes stress resistance and lifespan. Nature 2019 Dec 576 (7786) :301-305.


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