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Patterning biological cells by directed molecular transport

School of Biological Sciences

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Prof Andrew Goryachev No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

A PhD project is available in the Andrew Goryachev’s group to model the role of directed molecular transport, powered by molecular motors moving along the microtubule cytoskeleton, in spatial organization of biological cells. The student will develop deterministic and stochastic models of the directed transport along microtubules, which is coupled to the Brownian dynamics of freely diffusing molecules and biochemical reactions. The project is a close collaboration with leading cell and developmental biologists and includes advanced analysis of multidimensional fluorescence imaging data. The project is suitable for graduates with skills in mathematics, physics, and chemical engineering and interests in biology as well as biological and soft matter physics. Interested candidates are strongly advised to directly contact the supervisor ([Email Address Removed]) before applying.

The Goryachev group works on the interface of mathematical modelling, soft matter physics, and cell biology. The student will have an opportunity to learn science and methods of the above disciplines and acquire practical skills in the design of biological models, analytical analysis and numerical solution of reaction-diffusion equations. The student will receive training in nonlinear dynamical systems, bifurcation theory and stability analysis. With continuing coaching and guidance, the student is expected to read and interpret biological literature, construct models and perform their numerical simulation and analysis. The project offers an excellent opportunity to enter modern cutting-edge research on the interface of biological and physical sciences while contributing to publications in the high-profile journals.

The research focus in the Goryachev group ( is on understanding biophysical mechanisms of symmetry breaking in biological systems. Symmetry breaking manifests itself in a variety of dazzling biological phenomena and our aim is to improve their understanding via construction of predictive mechanistic models. We are looking for motivated, enthusiastic young people with the background in physical, life, computational sciences and engineering who are passionate about research. Depending on the student’s interests and specific project details, there exists an opportunity to learn laboratory skills in the labs of our collaborators.

Several types of competitive scholarships are available for the prospective PhD students at the University of Edinburgh. Depending on the topic, allied faculty from physics, mathematics and informatics departments are available as co-supervisors.

The School of Biological Sciences is committed to Equality & Diversity:

Funding Notes

The “Institution Website” button on this page will take you to our Online Application checklist. Please complete each step and download the checklist which will provide a list of funding options and guide you through the application process.

If you would like us to consider you for one of our scholarships you must apply by 6 January 2021 at the latest.


1. C-K. Hu, M. Coughlin, C. Field, T. Mitchison, Cell polarization during monopolar cytokinesis, J. Cell Biol. 181(2), 195 – 202 (2008).
2. C. Bicho, D. Kelly, H. Snaith, A. Goryachev, and K. Sawin, A catalytic role for Mod5 in the formation of the Tea1 cell polarity landmark, Curr. Biology, 20(19), 1752 - 1757 (2010).

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