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Modulating cell signalling regulates morphogenesis of the developing nervous system

Department of Biology

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Dr M E Pownall , Dr H V Isaacs No more applications being accepted Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Growth factors such as FGFs and Wnts are important signalling molecules that regulate development and are also known to cause disease when they go wrong. Ensuring exactly the right level of activity of FGF and Wnt pathways is therefore essential for both embryonic development and during adult homeostasis. This project investigates the role of Wnt11 in cell behaviours that underpin the normal development of the zebrafish nervous system. Using the zebrafish, Denio rerio, allows the production of large numbers of externally developing embryos that are beautiful to image by con-focal microscopy. This animal model is also well suited for genetic manipulation and this project will manipulate a gene called Sulf1 that is a well-known modulator of cell signalling. The genetic interaction of Sulf1 with the ligand Wnt11 will be studied using CRISPR-Cas9 technology, molecular embryology and confocal analysis. Exploring the possibility that Sulf1 is necessary for a cell behaviour called convergent extension in the developing embryo, possibly by regulating the activity of Wnt11 and FGF signalling pathways, will make an important contribution to our understanding of this interesting aspect of developmental neurobiology

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded project. Applicants need to have adequate funds to meet the costs of a self-funded research project including tuition fees and living expenses for the duration of the research programme. Please see information on tuition fee costs, living expenses and funding opportunities


Applications are welcome for a 1-year MSc by Research only.

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