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EASTBIO Do circadian rhythms in ion concentrations drive cellular metabolic rhythms?

   School of Biological Sciences

  Dr G van Ooijen, Dr E Bayne  Thursday, December 16, 2021  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Edinburgh United Kingdom Biochemistry Bioinformatics Cell Biology Evolution Microbiology Molecular Biology

About the Project

In the living cell, virtually nothing stays the same over the day/night cycle. Endogenous ~24h rhythms are driven by a biological timekeeping system, the circadian clock, that dynamically regulates nearly all biological processes to match Earth's environmental cycle. Rhythmic metabolism is achieved in part by clock-controlled gene expression, but the biochemical mechanisms that link rhythmic gene expression to rhythmic cellular metabolism are largely unknown. Our recent work led to the central hypothesis that circadian fluxes of ions into and within the cell provide a critical regulatory function in the reciprocal feedback between transcriptional and metabolic rhythms.

This PhD project will test aspects of this central hypothesis in a species of marine algae (Ostreococcus tauri) as a prototypical eukaryotic model cell. We will investigate the mechanisms through which circadian rhythms in magnesium and/or potassium are generated, and identify functional significance in the context of wider cell biology and metabolic rhythms. This might involve delineating sub-cellular ion fluxes over time and contextualising them along the membrane proteome rhythms that explain them, followed up by gene editing of membrane proteins. Subsequently, circadian gene expression will involve longitudinal luminescent imaging of reporter lines. We will also establish rhythmicity in the metabolic network and identify the harmonics with underlying transcript, protein, and ion rhythms before probing the causal relationships between cellular information flow and rhythmic metabolism. Through comparative biology, results from our model cells will likely be tested in all eukaryotic kingdoms. Project details will be shaped to the candidate's interests and strengths, so if you are interested, please contact Dr. van Ooijen directly so that we can have these initial discussions.

The School of Biological Sciences is committed to Equality & Diversity:

 How to Apply:

The “Institution Website” button will take you to our online Application Checklist. From here you can formally apply online. This checklist also provides a link to EASTBIO - how to apply web page. You must follow the Application Checklist and EASTBIO guidance carefully, in particular ensuring you complete all the EASTBIO requirements, and use /upload relevant EASTBIO forms to your online application.

Funding Notes

This 4 year PhD project is part of a competition funded by EASTBIO BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership View Website
This opportunity is open to UK and International students and provides funding to cover stipend and UK level tuition fees. The fee difference will be covered by the University of Edinburgh for successful international applicants. UKRI eligibility guidance: Terms and Conditions: View Website International/EU: View Website
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