Applications are invited for a PhD studentship based in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge and the new AstraZeneca Discovery Centre at Cambridge.
This project will be supervised by Professor Eric Miska (Biochemistry) and Dr Alessandro Bonetti (AstraZeneca) and is entitled: “The structure-function relationship for nuclear non-coding RNAs in healthy and disease lung epithelial cells”:
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have emerged as key regulators of biological processes. Most lncRNAs are enriched in the nucleus and involved the regulation of gene expression. Not just the primary sequence but the structure and interaction partners of these lncRNAs are critical for their function. However, we do not currently have a thorough understanding of their direct targets and mechanism of action.
Recent technological advances that allow the unbiased identification of RNA-RNA and RNA-DNA interactions have begun to unveil complex interaction networks of non-coding transcripts that regulate gene expression. The laboratory of Prof. Miska has developed COMRADES, a methodology that enables the transcriptome-wide identification of RNA structure and interactions. More recently, Dr. Bonetti has developed RADICL-seq, a technology that identifies genome-wide RNA-DNA interactions.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic disease causing progressive lung fibrosis. Currently, no cure is available for IPF patients. Non-coding RNAs have been implicated in human lung development and disease. Here we propose to investigate the structure/function relationship for nuclear non-coding transcripts by combining these two novel technological approaches in healthy and disease primary lung epithelial cells. The overarching goal is to identify structural motifs in lncRNAs as novel therapeutic targets in IPF.