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Evolution Education Trust PhD project: Ancestral function of the imprinted Grb10 gene

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, February 05, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The University of Bath is inviting applications for this PhD opportunity based at the Milner Centre for Evolution, a unique, cross-faculty research centre bridging biology, health and education. The Centre is dedicated to a broad range of fundamental research questions relating to evolutionary biology; from in deep time to the micro-evolutionary dynamics of a disease outbreak. We have a strong focus on public engagement and outreach. We are located in a dedicated multi-million-pound building that opened on the University campus in September 2018. Visit our website:

Supervisory Team:

Professor Andrew Ward, Department of Biology and Biochemistry (lead supervisor)
Dr. Araxi Urrutia, Milner Centre for Evolution
Professor Robert Kelsh, Department of Biology and Biochemistry

Project Overview:

RNA-seq data analysis will be a key focal point of the project. It will be used to inform experiments aimed at identifying functions of zebrafish grb10a and grb10b genes through comparisons of samples from wild type and single or double knockout animals. The zebrafish data will be also used to infer evolutionary conservation or divergence of function in comparison with similar data from mouse. To this end, AU will meet frequently with the student to develop their bioinformatics skills and guide the data analysis. Since this analysis is to be integrated with the functional experiments, meetings will often involve the whole supervisory team.


Applicants should have an excellent academic record and hold, or expect to obtain, a First Class or high Upper Second Class UK Honours degree (or the equivalent) in a relevant subject. A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.

Enquiries and Applications:

All enquiries should be addressed to Professor Andrew Ward, .

** Candidates are strongly encouraged to discuss projects directly with the lead supervisor before submitting an application.**

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Biology:

On the application form, please ensure that you quote ‘Evolution Education Trust’ in the Finance section and the supervisor’s name and project title in the ‘Your research interests’ section. Should you wish to be considered for more than one project, quote the projects in order of preference and upload a separate personal statement relevant to each one.

It is essential that your application is complete when you submit it to us. Incomplete applications cannot be considered. You should ensure that you have completed all fields on the application form and supplied the contact details of TWO referees who are available and willing to provide us with a reference when requested (one must be from your most recent place of study). In addition, you should ensure that you have uploaded the following documents:
• a scanned copy of the certificate/s for any degree/s you have been awarded;
• a scanned copy of your degree transcript/s or your interim transcript if you are still studying;
• an up-to-date CV;
• a personal statement explaining your motivation for wishing to study a PhD and your interest in the specific project for which you are applying;
• English language test certificate (if available) for EU candidates.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Interviews will take place in Bath on Friday 3 April 2020.

Anticipated start date: 28 September 2020.

Unfortunately, we are NOT able to consider international applicants for this project.

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project will be considered for a 3.5-year Evolution Education Trust Studentship which will cover UK/EU tuition fees, a tax-free maintenance allowance at the UKRI Doctoral Stipend rate (£15,009 for 2019/20) and a generous budget for research, training and outreach expenses.

Note: Only UK and EU applicants are eligible for studentship funding.


1. Cowley, M., Garfield, A.S., Madon-Simon, M., Charalambous, M., Clarkson, R.W., Smalley, M.J., Kendrick, H., Isles, A.R., Parry, A.J., Carvey, S., Oakey, R.J., Heisler, L.K., Moorwood, K., Wolf, J.B. and Ward, A. (2014). Developmental programming mediated by complementary roles of imprinted Grb10 in Mother and Pup. PLoS Biology, 12, e1001799 (13p). DOI 10.1186/s12915-014-0099-8
2. Madon-Simon, M., Cowley, M., Garfield, A. S., Moorwood, K. & Ward, A. (2014) Antagonistic roles in fetal development and adult physiology for the oppositely imprinted Grb10 and Dlk1 genes BMC Biology 12, 771 (22p).
3. Garfield, A.S., Cowley, M., Smith, F.M., Moorwood, K., Stewart-Cox, J.E., Gilroy, K., Baker, S., Xia, J., Dalley, J.W., Hurst, L.D., Wilkinson, L.S., Isles, A.R. and Ward, A. (2011). Distinct physiological and behavioural functions for parental alleles of imprinted Grb10. Nature, 469, 534-538.
4. Smith, F.M., Holt, L.J., Garfield, A.S., Charalambous, M., Koumanov, F., Perry, M., Bazzani, R., Sheardown, S.A., Hegarty, B.D., Lyons, R.J., Cooney, G.J., Daly, R.J. and Ward, A. (2007). Mice with a disruption of the imprinted Grb10 gene exhibit altered body composition, glucose homeostasis and insulin signalling during post-natal life. Mol. Cell. Biol. 27, 5871-5886.
5. Charalambous, M., Smith, F.M., Bennett, W.R., Crew, T.E., Mackenzie, F. and Ward A. (2003). Disruption of the imprinted Grb10 gene leads to disproportionate overgrowth by an Igf2 independent mechanism. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 100, 8292-8297.

How good is research at University of Bath in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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