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How does cell identity affect cytokinesis?

Department of Biosciences

Dr T Davies , Dr J Rodriguez , Dr D Weinkove Friday, January 22, 2021 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Durham United Kingdom Cell Biology Developmental Biology Genetics Molecular Biology

About the Project

Cell division is fundamental to life and errors can result in abnormal chromosomal numbers, developmental defects, and cancers. Similarities in the structural and molecular organization of the division apparatus gives the textbook picture, that mechanisms underlying division, including formation and constriction of an actomyosin contractile ring, do not vary between cell and organism types. However, recent research and clinical findings suggest that there is a previously un-appreciated variation in the molecular requirement for cytokinesis to occur, as depletion or mutation of several ‘essential’ proteins only disrupt division in specific cell-types and lineages.

During C. elegans development each cell has a specific identity and gives rise to different cell lineages. Furthermore, the factors that control cell identity have been well mapped by decades of detailed developmental biology. Therefore, it is an excellent multicellular system for observing the interaction between cell identity and cytokinetic perturbation in genetically identical, but functionally variable cells.

This PhD project will use the C. elegans model system and state of the art confocal microscopy to image cytokinesis, tracking the outcome of this rapid and dynamic cellular process, and quantifying localisation of fluorescently labelled cytokinetic proteins, while perturbing different aspects of cell identity. This project will provide training in live-cell fluorescence microscopy and image analysis, as well as general molecular and cell biology techniques and C. elegans genetics and transgenesis (via MosSCI and CRISPR).

If you are interested in this project, please contact the lead supervisor – Dr Tim Davies () for more information. 


Applications should be made by emailing with a CV and a covering letter, including whatever additional information you feel is pertinent to your application; you may wish to indicate, for example, why you are particularly interested in the selected project/s and at the selected University. Applications not meeting these criteria will be rejected. We will also require electronic copies of your degree certificates and transcripts.

In addition to the CV and covering letter, please email a completed copy of the Application Details Form (Word document) to , noting the additional details that are required for your application which are listed in this form. A blank copy of this form can be found at:

Funding Notes

Studentships are funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) for 4 years. Funding will cover tuition fees at the UK rate only, a Research Training and Support Grant (RTSG) and stipend. We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK and are able to offer a limited number of bursaries that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.
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