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MRC DTP 4 Year PhD Programme: mRNA cap regulation in T cell function

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  • Full or part time
    Prof V Cowling
    Dr G Schweikert
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

This project is part of our exciting and challenging University of Dundee 4-year MRC DTP Programme in 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. Further information on the programme structure and training can be found at

We are interesting in how cells respond to extra cellular signals by co-ordinating the expression of hundreds or thousands of genes. In particular we are interested in gene expression changes when a T cell encounters an antigen, and when an embryonic stem cell receives a developmental signal. Our focus is on the role of the mRNA cap, which recruits the factors that mediate RNA processing and translation. The enzymes which form the cap also influence transcription.

The project will involve investigating the impact of the mRNA capping enzymes on transcription, RNA processing and translation in embryonic stem cells and T cells. The student will use the latest next generation sequencing technologies to map gene expression profiles and used advanced computational methodologies to analyse the data.

Victoria Cowling is a group leader in the Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression. Her group investigates how regulation of the mRNA cap influences cell function and fate. Gabriele Schweikert is a group leader in the Division of Computational Biology. Her group pioneers machine learning methodologies in gene expression analyses.


Grasso L, Suska O, Davidson L, Gonatopoulos-Pournatzis T, Williamson R, Wasmus L, Wiedlich S, Peggie M, Stavridis MP and Cowling VH (2016) mRNA cap methylation in pluripotency and differentiation Cell Rep. 2016 Aug 2;16(5):1352-65. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.06.089. Epub 2016 Jul 21 PMID 27452456

Varshney D, Lombardi O, Schweikert G, Dunn S, Suska O and Cowling VH (2018) mRNA cap methyltransferase (RNMT-RAM) is required for RNA pol II-dependent transcription Cell Rep. 2018 May 1;23(5):1530-1542. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.04.004 PMID: 29719263

Aregger M, Kaskar A, Fernandez-Sanchez ME, Simone Weidlich S and Cowling VH (2016) CDK1-cyclinB activates RNMT co-ordinating mRNA cap methylation with G1 phase transcription Molecular Cell 2016 Mar 3;61(5):734-46. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2016.02.008 PMID: 26942677

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