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FindA University Ltd Featured PhD Programmes

Identification of novel regulators of pancreatic beta-cell identity

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, October 31, 2019
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Diabetes is the largest epidemic in human history that affects 1 in 12 adults worldwide. Due to our modern lifestyle, it is one of the few diseases where the incidence is set to rise dramatically, with projections putting 650 million people at risk by 2040. This condition occurs when the beta-cells, located within the pancreas, malfunction. Diabetes is a chronic disease without a known cure. Current research aims to generate functional beta-cells under laboratory conditions in order to replace or supplement a diabetic patient’s failing beta-cells. One way to generate beta-cells in the lab is to use induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells, which have the potential to turn into any cell type of the body. “Beta-like” cells have been generated from IPS cells, which can mimic but cannot yet replicate all the intricacies of a true beta-cell. Research in my laboratory aims to identify and understand novel key regulators of the pancreatic beta cell that can be targeted to improve the production and quality of IPS derived beta-cells.

The aim of this project is to perform a loss of function screen on unknown regulators of the pancreatic beta cell. This project involves both molecular biology techniques (such as CRISPR-cas9 mediated gene knockouts in cell lines, Chromatin immunoprecipitation) and bioinformatic analysis (RNA-seq, ChIP-seq and integration of our data into known datasets). Hence, the candidate will receive training in both fields.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Ildem Akerman, email:

To be considered for this studentship, please send the following documents to :
• A detailed CV, including your nationality and country of birth;
• Names and addresses of two referees;
• A covering letter highlighting your research experience/capabilities;
• Copies of your degree certificates with transcripts;
• Evidence of your proficiency in the English language, if applicable.


Akerman I, Tu Z, Beucher A, Rolando D, Sauty-Colace C, Benazra M, Nakic N, Yang J, Wang H, Pasquali L, Moran I, Garcia-Hurtado J, Castro N, Gonzalez-Franco R, Stewart A F, Bonner C, Piemont Li, Berney T, Groop L, Kerr-Conte J, Pattou F, Argmann C, Schadt E, Ravassard P and Ferrer J. (2017) Human pancreatic β cell lncRNAs control cell-specific regulatory networks. Cell Metabolism

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