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MRC DTP 4 Year PhD Programme: Functions & Applications of a Novel Stem Cell Signalling Pathway


About This PhD Project

Project Description

This project is offered as part of the University of Dundee 4-year MRC DTP Programme “Quantitative and Interdisciplinary approaches to biomedical science”. This PhD programme brings together leading experts from the School of Life Sciences (SLS), the School of Medicine (SoM) and the School of Science and Engineering (SSE) to train the next generation of scientists at the forefront of international science. The outstanding biomedical research at the University of Dundee was recognised by its very high rankings in REF 2014, with Dundee rated as the top University for Biological Sciences in the UK. A wide range of projects are available within this programme crossing exceptional strengths in four key areas: Infection and Disease; Responses to Cellular Stresses; Development, Stem Cells and Neurobiology; and Big Data and Translation. All students on this programme will receive training in computational biology, mathematical biology and statistics to equip with the quantitative skills in tackling complex biological questions. In the 1st year, students will carry out 3 rotation projects prior to selection of the final PhD project.

The Findlay lab employs cutting-edge technologies to unravel Embryonic Stem (ES) cell signalling networks (Williams et al, Cell Rep 2016, Fernandez-Alonso et al, EMBO Rep 2017; Bustos et al, Cell Rep 2018), culminating in our recent discovery of the ERK5 pathway as an exciting new regulator of ES cell pluripotency. In order to uncover functions of ERK5 in ES cells, this project will deploy global proteomic and phosphoproteomic profiling. Novel ERK5 substrates and transcriptional networks will be characterised using biochemical and ES cell biology approaches. A further aim is to investigate functions of ERK5 in human patient-derived iPS cell maintenance and lineage-specific differentiation to neurons, cardiomyocytes etc. This research will be undertaken in the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC-PPU), one of the world’s leading centres studying the role of cell signalling in health and disease. Students will have access to state-of-the-art tools to dissect signalling networks, and opportunity for interaction with three major Pharmaceutical companies that support the MRC-PPU via the Division of Signal Transduction Therapy. The Findlay lab is also affiliated with the Division of Cell and Developmental Biology, which comprises world experts in stem cell research.

References

Recent work from the lab can be found in the following references:

1.Bustos, F.*, Segarra-Fas, A.*, Chaugule, V.K., Brandenburg, L., Branigan, E., Toth, R., Macartney, T., Knebel, A., Hay, R.T., Walden, H. and Findlay, G.M. (2018) Cell Rep. 23(6): 1599-1611

2.Fernandez-Alonso, R., Davidson, L.,Hukelmann, J., Zengerle, M., Prescott, A.R., Lamond, A., Ciulli, A., Sapkota, G.P. and Findlay, G.M. (2017) EMBO Rep. 18(7):1108-1122

3.Fernandez-Alonso, R., Bustos, F., Williams, C.A.C. and Findlay, G.M. (2017) J Mol Biol. 429(10):1504-1520.

4.Williams, C.A.C., Gray, N.S. and Findlay, G.M. (2017) J Vis Exp. May 12(123). DOI: 10.3791/55515

5.Williams, C.A.C., Fernandez-Alonso, R., Wang, J., Gray, N.S. and Findlay, G.M. (2016) Cell Rep. 16(6):1820-8

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