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Genetic regulation of stem cell differentiation in vivo by single-cell sequencing of planarian cells

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, December 31, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Oxford Brookes University
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences,
Department of Biomedical and Medical Sciences

3 Year, full-time PhD studentship
Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU
Closing date: 31 December 2019
Start date: September 2020
Interview: 13 January 2020
Bursary p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2019/20 bursary rate is £15,009)
University fees and bench fees at the Home/EU rate will be met by the University for the 3 years of the Studentship.
Supervisors: Dr Jordi Solana


Single-cell sequencing methods will revolutionize the functional and comparative study of stem cells. The flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea is a very promising model for in vivo stem cell biology thanks to its large number of stem cells that continuously differentiate to all adult cell types and that enable its amazing regenerative capacities. We have previously used single-cell transcriptomics to in silico reconstruct the differentiation lineage tree of planarian stem cells. However, the mechanisms that orchestrate this differentiation in vivo are not well understood. There is strong evidence that these mechanisms are conserved at least in part from planarians to humans. The use of model organisms such as planarians will therefore be key to study the fundamental biology of stem cells and their evolution. We will use RNAi-mediated gene knockdown in combination with single-cell transcriptomics. Whole worm systemic RNAi is a powerful and scalable tool to knockdown gene expression in planarians. Subsequently, single-cell sequencing will allow profiling stem cells, progenitors as well as fully differentiated cells and studying the effects of the knockdown at the single-cell level. This will allow elucidating the effect of several transcriptional, posttranscriptional and epigenetic regulators in the self-maintenance and differentiation output of planarian stem cells.
For further information contact Dr Jordi Solana:

Funding Notes

How to apply:
Applications should be sent to and should include the following form
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