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Investigating cellular strategies for decision-making

   School of Biological Sciences

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  Prof P Swain, Dr E Wallace  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Understanding cellular decision-making is a fundamental challenge, and insights from model organisms are important for developing a framework for humans. Yeast cells grow on a variety of different carbon sources and sense these carbon sources with signalling networks analogous to the ones our own cells use to sense hormones. In the wild, yeast likely experience mixtures of carbon sources, but most experiments have been performed for media with a single carbon source.

 In this project, you will determine the strategies used by yeast to choose between different carbon sources. Cells sense the carbon available and then decide the appropriate enzymes to express based on multiple factors: the likely availability of carbon in the future, the quality of the different possible carbon sources, and on their own behaviour in the past. You will focus on how signalling and genetic networks work together to allow cells to make these decisions.

 The techniques you will use range from tagging and deleting genes using CRISPR to time-lapse fluorescence microscopy and RNA-seq analysis.

 For such decisions, yeast use kinases that are highly conserved, including TOR and AMP kinase. We therefore expect that the strategies you uncover will be used widely by other eukaryotic cells.

More information on our work is available at


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Funding Notes

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