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Genome-wide responses to stress

  • Full or part time
    Dr J Mata
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Awaiting Funding Decision/Possible External Funding
    Awaiting Funding Decision/Possible External Funding

Project Description

We are interested in gene regulation in responses to stress, using both simple model organisms, human and plant pathogens.

Cells respond to stress conditions by launching complex programs of gene expression, both transcriptional and posttranscriptional, and which are often closely linked with each other. We are particularly interested in the regulation of translation, which is modified in response to stress at multiple levels.

We use the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe to study these questions, and address them with state-of-the-art genomic methods, classical and molecular genetics, and cell biological approaches. We are studying translation using both single-gene approaches as well as genome-wide methods (such as RNA-seq and ribosome profiling).

Our current experimental system is S. pombe, a simple organism that can be used to study human disease. We are also starting to use the human parasite Toxoplasma and the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria for our experiments.

A PhD project could involve a combination of multiple approaches to study translational control in response to environmental signals. Potential projects (depending on the student’s interest) are available in the following areas, and could be applied to the experimental systems mentioned above:
• Translational control during stress.
• Role of small proteins (microproteins) in gene regulation.
• tRNA regulation during stress responses.

Funding Notes

I am a member of the BBSRC DTP Programme (View Website), which offers fully-funded fellowships. Other competitive studentships may be available. Self-funded students will also be considered.


1. Duncan C, Rodriguez-Lopez M, Ruis P, Bahler J and Mata J (2018) General amino acid control in fission yeast is regulated by a nonconserved transcription factor, with functions analogous to Gcn4/Atf4. PNAS doi:10.1073/pnas.1713991115

2. Duncan C and Mata J (2017) Effects of cycloheximide on the interpretation of ribosome profiling experiments in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Scientific reports 7:10331

3. Hasan A, Cotobal C, Duncan C and Mata J (2014) Systematic analysis of the role of RNA-binding proteins in the regulation of RNA stability. PLoS Genet 10 (11): e1004684

4. Duncan C and Mata J (2014) The translational landscape of fission yeast meiosis and sporulation. Nat Mol Struct Biol doi:10.1038/nsmb.2843

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 189.63

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