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Investigating the co-evolution of chromosome organisation and gene expression

   School of Biosciences

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  Dr M Farré Belmonte  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Our lab aims to study genome evolution and the genetic changes associated with individual and species differences, applying the newest comparative and functional genomic techniques and the great wealth of genomic data available. In particular, we focus on the dynamics of chromosomal evolution in mammals and other vertebrates 1,2. Although genome and chromosome evolution have long been studied, we still know very little about the functional consequences of these changes and the role they might have played during evolution. To address these questions, we use rodents and ruminants as model species and take a multidisciplinary approach that combines experimental and bioinformatic analysis.

This project will focus particularly on how genomic changes between closely related ruminant species might affect gene expression. To do so, the student will first detect genomic changes in ruminants using an algorithm designed in our lab 3. Then, they will generate and analyse RNA-Seq data for two tissues of cattle, sheep and red deer, to finally integrate their results with the gross genomic changes.

1. Farre, M., Robinson, T. J. & Ruiz-Herrera, A. An Integrative Breakage Model of genome architecture, reshuffling and evolution. Bioessays (2015).
2. Farré, M. et al. Novel Insights into Chromosome Evolution in Birds, Archosaurs, and Reptiles. Genome Biol. Evol. 8, 2442–2451 (2016).
3. Kim, J. et al. Reconstruction and evolutionary history of eutherian chromosomes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 114, E5379–E5388 (2017).

The candidate: We are seeking a highly motivated individual, excited by the prospect of conducting cutting-edge research, with a minimum of 2:1 degree in a relevant subject. She/he will have a strong willingness to work at the interface of wet-lab and bioinformatics, and demonstrate enthusiasm to learn new skills. Informal enquiries can be addressed to Dr Marta Farré Belmonte – [Email Address Removed]

Funding: This is funded by the Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA), which provides financial support in return for 96 hours of teaching per year. The stipend paid equals the full UK Research Council rate of £14,777 (rate for 2018/19) plus tuition fees at the Home/EU rate. International applicants should make provision to meet the difference between Home/EU and International fees. For further information on the Graduate Teaching Assistantship scheme go to:

How to apply: Applications can be made using the online University application page where the project title should be entered as the proposed area of research and Dr Marta Farré Belmonte as supervisor. Please include a CV and a cover letter. Applications must be received by 1 February 2019. The start date is September 2019.

Funding Notes

£14,777 (2018/19 rate) plus Home/EU fees. See

Scholarships will be offered at the standard UK Research Councils’ rate and administered under the Graduate Teaching Assistant Scheme (GTA).

UK, EU and overseas fee paying students are invited to apply. International applicants should make provision to meet the difference between Home /EU and International fees. Please note that overseas students must have the appropriate documentation to evidence eligibility to work in the UK.

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