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FULLY FUNDED PHD: The role of POMC gene products in central control of long-term energy balance.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr T Stevenson
    Prof C Selman
    Prof N Evans
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description


We are facing a global crisis with regard to obesity. While this can be associated with dietary and lifestyle factors there is evidence that disruption of natural rhythms impacts energy balance metabolism.

A research focus of our group is to understand the (epi)genomic mechanisms that govern long-term timing of energy balance in the brain.

The student will join a Leverhulme Trust funded research team that seeks to uncover novel epigenomic and transcriptome markers involved in the control of seasonal body mass reguation.

This studentship will explore the mechanistic and functional role of the precusor neuropeptide proopiomelanocortin (pomc) for the control of long-term, regulated changes in energy balance.

The projects will take advantage of the well characterised light controlled and hormone mediated changes of programmed energy balance.

Using a series of photoperiod- and hormone-manipulations, the projects will investigate the neuroendocrine regulation of endogenously programmed, seasonal rhythms in body mass.

The main objective is to identify the (epi)genomic signatures that provide the basis for circannual timing of energy balance.

The PhD studentship will use cutting-edge Nanopore sequencing techniques to identify seasonal rhythms in epigenomic and transcriptomic patterns across the neuroendocrine-pituitary-liver axes.

In order to examine the functional role of pomc for long-term changes in energy balance, in vivo and in vitro projects will incorporate crispr-cas9 tools to gain control over gene expression levels.

In addition to the above, the student will learn common methods in molecular biology (e.g. qPCR), hormone assays (e.g. ELISA), stereology, metabolic analyses and behavioural assessment, bioinformatics, and statistical analyses.

Upon completion, the training provided will allow progression into a variety of post-doctoral positions within the biomedical sciences, bioinformatics or biotechnology industries.

All enquiries relating to the project and/or suitability should be directed to Dr Tyler Stevenson ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

The 3-year studentship will provide full support for tuition fees and an annual minimum tax-free stipend of £15,245.

Applicants should hold a minimum upper-second honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subjects such as biological sciences, zoology, or neuroscience.

A Masters degree in a similar area or previous experience in molecular biology and/or animal behaviour is desirable. This multi-disiplinary PhD will be based at the Garscube campus of the University of Glasgow, which provides state-of-the-art facilities for animal health and wellness research.


Bao R, Onish KG, Tolla E, Ebling FJP, Lewis JE, Anderson RL, Barrett P, Prendergast BJ, Stevenson TJ. 2019 Genome sequencing and transcriptome analyses of the Siberian hamster hypothalamus identify mechanisms for seasonal energy balance. PNAS, 116:13116-13121.

Stevenson TJ. 2018. Epigenetic regulation of biological rhythms: an evolutionary ancient molecular timer. Trends Genetics 34:90-100.

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