University College London Featured PhD Programmes
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Metabolic regulation of the RNA methylome (AKAYAU20SCIEC)

  • Full or part time

    Prof T Dalmay
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, January 30, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Regulation of gene expression is essential for the development and survival of organisms and RNA is at the centre of many gene regulatory processes. There are more than 150 diverse chemical modifications found on RNA. Recent discoveries have shown that RNA modifications are dynamically regulated and they play key roles in gene regulatory mechanisms. Research in our RNA (epi)genetics group focuses on the role of RNA methylations during development using the nematode C. elegans as an animal model.


The PhD project is aimed at understanding how dietary metabolism can regulate gene expression via changes in RNA modification landscape. RNA methyltransferases need Sadenosylmethionine (SAM) for methylation reactions. SAM is synthesised from the amino acid methionine through a pathway that requires dietary metabolites such as vitamin B12. The project will investigate the link between such dietary metabolites and their role in controlling RNA methylations and gene expression. The project will take advantage of the mass spectrometry methods developed in the lab which allows sensitive detection of RNA methylations. This is a highly exciting area of molecular biology. The project will generate novel data that will benefit many other research groups and will lead to important insights into how RNA modifications are regulated.


We offer a multidisciplinary and supportive environment. The student will have a wide range of support to learn different techniques (molecular biology, biochemistry and bioinformatics) and will interact with national and international laboratories working on RNA modifications. The student will be supported by two postdoctoral researchers and a research technician. The student will attend conferences, seminars and our annual laboratory retreat. The student will be given internal and external mentorship and career development support. Our new RNA (epi)genetics laboratory is funded by a prestigious UK Research and Innovation funding and provides generous resources and instruments.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here https://people.uea.ac.uk/en/persons/null(7b50627c-78ec-4007-824b-592f95beead1)/publications.html
This is a PhD programme.
The start date of this project is 1 October 2020.
The mode of study is full-time.
The studentship length is 3 years. Please note 3 year studentships have a (non-funded) 1 year ‘registration only’ period.


Entry requirements: Acceptable first degrees are Biological Sciences, Biochemistry, Chemistry
The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is in a competition for a Faculty of Science funded studentship. Funding is available to UK/EU applicants and comprises home/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £15,009 for 3 years. Overseas applicants may apply but they are required to fund the difference between home/EU and overseas tuition fees (which for 2019-20 are detailed on the University’s fees pages at View Website. Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual increase).

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