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Genetics: Genetic studies of developmental eye disorders to investigate genotype-phenotype correlations


   Faculty of Medicine and Health

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  Dr M Ali  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Developmental eye defects that affect the front of the eye give rise to a spectrum of congenital ocular phenotypes that affect the cornea, lens, iris, trabecular meshwork or the globe itself. They can be non-syndromic affecting the eye only or the condition may be associated with systemic features. Patients sometimes present with distinct phenotypes that are easy to diagnose or they may have multiple signs with considerable overlapping features that makes accurate diagnosis more difficult. Knowing the genetic basis of these conditions helps to classify the patients into definitive disease categories.

The primary aim of this project will be to identify the molecular basis of congenital eye disease in multiple local cases. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) and whole exome sequencing (WES) of these cases will identify coding and non-coding variants both in known and novel genes that have not been previously implicated in the disorder. These variants will be further studied to provide functional validation of the genetic findings but specific experiments will be determined by the initial findings. Better understanding of the disease mechanisms in light of the molecular diagnosis will improve management and support the development of new therapies for these rare conditions.

The techniques used in this PhD will include bioinformatics, analyzing WES and WGS data, PCR, Sanger sequencing, functional validation of variants may include expression profiling, spicing mini- and midi-gene assays, protein structural modelling, RNA sequencing, creating knock-out cell models of putative pathogenic variants by CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing and the study of animal models where available.

This project is available as part of the International PhD Academy: Medical Research

Eligibility:

You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject.

Candidates whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Medicine and Health minimum requirements are:

  • British Council IELTS - score of 7.0 overall, with no element less than 6.5
  • TOEFL iBT - overall score of 100 with the listening and reading element no less than 22, writing element no less than 23 and the speaking element no less than 24.

How to apply:

Applications can be made at any time. To apply for this project applicants should complete an online application form and submit this alongside a full academic CV, degree transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) and degree certificates. Please make it clear in the research information section that you are applying for the International PhD Academy: Medical Research, as well as the title of the project you wish to be considered for.

We also require 2 academic references to support your application. Please ask your referees to send these references on your behalf, directly to [Email Address Removed]

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to [Email Address Removed]


Funding Notes

This project is aimed at International applicants who are able to self fund their studies or who have a sponsor who will provide their funding.
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