This is one of several projects available on an MRC funded 4-year multi-disciplinary PhD programme in Human Genetics, Genomics and Disease at the MRC Human Genetics Unit (HGU), part of the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM) at the University of Edinburgh.
Epigenetic modifications of histones and DNA in the cell nucleus are essential for embryo development by regulating active and repressive chromatin states that propagate gene activity patterns in cell lineages and regulate overall nuclear architecture and chromosome function. The appearance of nuclear condensed chromatin in mouse embryogenesis coincides with differentiation and a restriction in developmental potential but its causal involvement in these processes remains unclear.
We hypothesise that epigenetic repression pathways act in a three-dimensional and signalling context in the embryo, which are disrupted when embryonic stem cells are cultured in a dish. We will explore this using a variety of experimental and advanced imaging approaches.