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Epigentic control of muscle development: the impact of chromatin accessibility on gene regulation (MUNSTERBERGU20DTP1)

Project Description

Skeletal muscle is important for health and well-being throughout life. To understand better the factors that contribute to the maintenance of this important tissue, we study its development in the embryo. It is known that many of the genes and mechanisms that control embryo development are conserved and perform similar functions in the adult organism, for example during muscle regeneration and repair. This project will identify the regions in the genome that control the genetic programme of developing skeletal muscle. We have used genomics techniques to discover candidate cis-regulatory elements (enhancers) in the proximity to genes important for muscle development. The student will use functional experiments to validate these elements in vivo using established methods, such as microinjection and electroporation of fluorescent reporter plasmids into early avian embryos. The existing genomics datasets (ATAC-seq/RNA-seq) will also be analysed in more detail using data-mining tools.

The student will receive training in both experimental, wet-lab approaches and bioinformatics analysis. They will be fully integrated into a lively laboratory investigating different aspects of skeletal muscle and cardiac development in avian embryos.

Project supervisor:
Project sponsor: Norwich Research Park Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership
Type of programme: PhD
Start date: 1 October 2020
Mode of study: Full-time
Studentship length: 4 years


- First degree (2:1 or above) in relevant subject
- English language (IELTS 6.5 overall, 6 in each section)


This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 7th, 8th or 9th January 2020.

The NRP DTP offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Funding Notes

For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website: View Website. Full Studentships cover a stipend (2019/0 rate: £15,009pa), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

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