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Novel regulators of +TIP localisation and function

Project Description

Microtubules (MTs) are a key cytoskeletal network in all eukaryotic cells. MTs grow and shrink primarily through the addition or loss of tubulin heterodimers from their plus end. The +TIPs are a class of proteins that specifically localize to the growing plus end of MTs. They play important roles in most MT-dependent processes, including mitosis, migration and differentiation. As such they have been implicated in a range of human diseases and developmental disorders and could represent novel therapeutic targets. EB proteins (EB1, EB2 and EB3) form the core of many +TIP complexes, directly contacting the growing MT end and acting as a scaffold that allows other +TIPs to localize to this site. Given the key role of EB proteins in +TIP assemblies, there is great interest in defining how their localisation is regulated.

We performed a small inhibitory RNA (siRNA) screen to identify genes that regulate EB1 levels at MT tips. This identified a number of hits that had not previously been implicated in EB protein function. The aim of this project is to validate these hits and functionally characterise the role of selected proteins in regulating both EB protein activity and MT function in appropriate cellular models. The work will involve cell biological and biochemical studies, giving exposure to a variety of techniques including cell culture and advanced cell imaging methods.

The student will be based in the University of Leeds in the section of Ophthalmology and Neuroscience (OPNE), School of Medicine, University Of Leeds. The appointed student will have the opportunity to learn a broad range of techniques described above. For further details of the Institute’s research visit

This project is available immediately to both Home/EU rate applicants and International applicants who are able to self-fund their studies. Students must be able to provide the appropriate level of fees based on their fee status plus laboratory consumables costs per year. This is in addition to the provision of personal living expenses.

You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject.

Candidate whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study, the Faculty minimum requirements are:

• British Council IELTS - score of 6.5 overall, with no element less than 6.0
• TOEFL iBT - overall score of 92 with the listening and reading element no less than 21, writing element no less than 22 and the speaking element no less than 23.

Applicants with sufficient funding must still undergo formal interview prior to acceptance in order to demonstrate scientific aptitude and English language capability.

How to apply
Applications can be made at any time. To formal apply for this project applicants should complete a Faculty Application form using the link below and send this alongside a full academic CV, degree certificates and transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) to the Faculty Graduate School at

We also require 2 academic references to support your application. Please ask your referees to send these references on your behalf, directly to

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to .

Potential applicants are welcome to contact Dr. Ewan Morrison at with informal enquiries about this research project.

Funding Notes

This project is for self funded applicants only

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