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Massively parallel characterisation and experimental validation of viral microRNAs (MOXONU20DTP)

  • Full or part time

    Prof T Dalmay
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, November 25, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of non-coding RNAs ~22nt in length known to play a pivotal role in the regulation of gene expression in animals. They bind to their targets by Watson-Crick base pairing, leading to translational inhibition, deadenylation, and eventual mRNA degradation. Some viruses can also encode miRNA sequences which are processed by their hosts on infection. These miRNAs can either regulate the viral lifecycle or disrupt host gene expression e.g. by downregulating key genes in the antiviral immune response. At present, very few viral miRNAs have been characterised and studied in detail. Characterisation and understanding of these important regulators is therefore of great importance in the study of human and animal disease.

This studentship will use a combination of cutting-edge molecular and computational biology in order to classify viral miRNAs on an unparalleled scale. The project is cross-disciplinary and suitable for graduates in either computing or biological sciences. The student will receive full training in relevant laboratory and bioinformatic techniques including miRNA prediction, data analysis, and programming throughout the PhD programme.

Project supervisor:
Project sponsor: Norwich Research Park Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership
Type of programme: PhD
Start date: 1 October 2020
Mode of study: Full-time
Studentship length: 4 years


- First degree (2:1 or above) in relevant subject
- English language (IELTS 6.5 overall, 6 in each section)


This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 7th, 8th or 9th January 2020.

The NRP DTP offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Funding Notes

For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website: View Website. Full Studentships cover a stipend (2019/0 rate: £15,009pa), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

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