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Mapping ancient biomolecule degradation through omics methods


   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health


About the Project

The University of Manchester faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health (https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/) is offering a unique self-funded PhD studentship in mapping ancient biomolecule degradation using omics techniques. The KNH Centre of Biomedical Egyptology at the University of Manchester (https://sites.manchester.ac.uk/knhcentre/) is dedicated to obtaining an understanding of ancient societies and their people through the application of modern biomolecular techniques to mummified soft and hard tissues.

Mummification, either natural or artificial, is the process by which the body is preserved post-mortem. Its main mechanism, dehydration, is believed to be responsible for an exceptional biomolecule preservation of ancient samples. This allows us a unique opportunity to retrieve detailed information about the individuals themselves through the study of ancient genomics, proteomics, lipidomics and transcriptomics. As such, ancient biomolecule studies have significantly expanded our understanding of ancient societies, including aspects of adaptation, migration and evolution. This studentship will focus on comparing signatures of degradation across different tissues using various omics methods.

The student will work across a wide range of facilities, such as the ancient biomolecule laboratories in the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (https://www.mib.manchester.ac.uk/ ), and the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, which curates more than 1,000 mummified soft and hard tissues. The student will be trained by experts in the Evolutionary Genomics (Dr Konstantina Drosou) and lipidomics field (Prof Anna Nicolaou https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/anna.nicolaou.html ). The student will also be supported by a vibrant academic environment with decades of experience in molecular biology, biochemistry and evolutionary biology.

For more information please contact Dr Konstantina Drosou ()

The student is expected to have experience in molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, proteomics, lipidomics or a related subject and to have a mind excited by the prospect of furthering an understanding of human tissues at the molecular level in a challenging environment. Knowledge of bioinformatics and computational biology is desirable but is not a pre requisite.

1.     Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. The student is expected to have experience in molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, proteomics, lipidomics or a related subject and to have a mind excited by the prospect of furthering an understanding of human tissues at the molecular level in a challenging environment. Knowledge of bioinformatics and computational biology is desirable but is not a pre requisite. 

2.     For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/). Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select the PhD title.

3.     For international students, we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences. For more information please visit www.internationalphd.manchester.ac.uk


Funding Notes

Applications are invited from self-funded students. This project has a Band 1 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website View Website
Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website View Website

References

Drosou, K., Collin, T.C., Freeman, P.J., Loynes, R. and Freemont, T. 2020. The first reported case of the rare mitochondrial haplotype H4a1 in ancient Egypt. Nature Scientific Reports. Accepted on 4th of September 2020.
Drosou, K., Abu-Mandil Hassan, N., Turner, R.L., Brown, K.A., Rowland, S. and Brown, T.A. 2019. Genetic affiliations within a 19th century burial ground at Darwen, Lancashire, UK. Journal of Archaeological Sciences: Reports. 24: 507 – 512.
Drosou, K., Price, C. and Brown, T. 2018. The kinship of two 12th Dynasty mummies revealed by ancient DNA sequencing. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 17: 793-797.

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