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MSc by Research: Investigation of the interplay between the cell cycle and Notch intracellular domain levels in presomitic mesoderm cells in somitogenesis

   School of Life Sciences

  Prof J K Dale  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

One of the key processes in embryo development is somitogenesis. This is the formation of segments, known as somites, that go on to develop into bone and skeletal muscle. This process is tightly regulated and it is now known that one of the key signalling pathways in this regulation is that of Notch. After receiving a signal from a neighbouring cell, the Notch transmembrane protein is cleaved and the Notch intracellular domain (NICD) is released and translocates to the nucleus where it can impact the expression of numerous other genes. During somitogenesis the expression of a number of genes oscillate, these are collectively known as clock genes. It is believed that these clock genes are responsible for the regular budding off of new somites during somitgenesis. One of the most studied clock genes is Hes7. It is also known that NICD levels oscillate with the same period as the clock genes. 

Pilot data from the JKD lab suggest that in the presomitic mesoderm (PSM – the tissue that differentiates into the somites) levels of NICD present in the nucleus differ across the stages of the cell cycle. A recent publication from another lab has shown that the length of the cell cycle is dependent on where on the Hes oscillation the cell begins mitosis. Given that aberrant Notch signalling has been shown to have a role in many diseases, including certain cancers and developmental disorders, there is clearly a need to elucidate the interaction between Notch signalling and cell cycle dynamics. 

This project would use molecular tools currently being generated by the JKD lab to investigate the relationship between the clock gene Hes7, the cell cycle and NICD levels in PSM cells. The main aim would be to look at how the cell cycle effects levels of NICD and what the downstream impact of this is on protein and RNA levels within the PSM. There would also be the potential to explore the mechanism behind this regulation. 

Please see our website for further details on the programme:

Life Sciences MSc by Research MSc by Research (Postgraduate) : Study : University of Dundee

Please note before submitting your application that you must list your top three project choices in the Research Proposal section of the application form.

You apply for this course using our Direct Application System. Once you've signed up for an account you'll be asked to search for a course.

To find Life Science MSc by Research you should select the following options:

·   Course type: Research Postgraduate

·   Keyword: Life

When you complete your form, you should include your top 3 project choices, 2 letters of reference, uploaded under "Other Information" > "Supporting documents" and a personal statement. Failure to do so will delay your application.

Please note when submitting an application that we have the following deadline dates throughout the year:

September Starts - Application Deadline 1st May, Interview Date - Late June

January Starts - Application Deadline 1st Sep, Interview Date - Late October

May Starts - Application Deadline 1st Feb, Interview Date Late March

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