Molecular mechanisms of stem cell function in skeletal muscle ageing

   School of Biosciences

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  Dr A G Borycki  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The ability of skeletal muscles to regenerate in response to injury, exercise, growth or disease depends on a population of adult skeletal muscle stem cells. With aging, the number and regenerative capacity of the stem cells declines; this contributes to the aging process and ultimately to the loss of muscle mass in elderly people. Cell signalling plays a key role in controlling the balance between cell proliferation, cell differentiation and self-renewal (ability to maintain a stem cell pool) in skeletal muscle stem cells. Defects that disrupt this balance causes a decline in regenerative capability and leads to ageing. In previous work, we have reported that a microtubule-containing organelle at the surface of cells called the primary cilium plays a critical role in mediating signalling pathways that control the activity of skeletal muscle stem cells. However, the importance of this organelle and cell signalling pathways in aging remains to be established.

This project consists in using a combination of mouse genetic models and in vitro cell culture systems to uncover the mechanisms by which skeletal muscle stem cell activity decline during ageing. In a supportive, yet hard-working environment, you will be trained to the various cutting-edge techniques required for the project, including advanced training in stem cell biology (culture), molecular techniques (CRISPR-Cas9 mutation, qPCR), immunodetection experiments (immunofluorescence, western blot), imaging (confocal microscopy), next generation sequencing and mouse genetics (conditional knockout mouse lines).

You will be based in the School of Biosciences, which groups a large number of academics with international reputation and offers access to state-of-the-arts facilities.

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Biological Sciences (4)

Funding Notes

First class or upper second 2(i) in a relevant subject. To formally apply for a PhD, you must complete the University's application form using the following link:
All applicants should ensure that both references are uploaded onto their application as a decision will be unable to be made without this information.


Cruz-Migoni SB, Mohd Imran K, Wahid A, Rahman O, Briscoe J, Borycki AG.
A switch in cilia-mediated Hedgehog signaling controls muscle stem cell quiescence and cell cycle progression.
BioRxiv doi:

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