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PhD studentship: Adapting cell cycle protein regulation for mammalian oocyte meiosis

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S Madgwick
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Number of awards


Start date and duration

October 1 2020 – 3 years of funding

Application closing date

March 27 2020


We are pleased to invite candidates to apply for a PhD studentship investigating the role of cell cycle protein regulation in preventing cell division errors that lead to infertility and miscarriage in women.

Accurate cell division relies upon the alignment of all chromosomes so that they may segregate equally into two new daughter cells. Unfortunately, human oocytes often divide before their chromosomes are properly aligned. This increases the likelihood that eggs are produced with abnormal numbers of chromosomes; the number one genetic cause of miscarriage and developmental disabilities in babies. Significantly this error is also a major contributor to IVF failure.

Here we wish to understand how chromosome alignment and segregation are regulated by cell cycle proteins in mammalian oocytes, contributing to our understanding of why some oocytes progress with fatal errors.

In contrast to human oocytes, the equivalent cell division is not error prone in young mouse oocytes and the majority of these cells divide normally, producing perfect eggs. Our previous research has identified the existence of a mechanism that prevents cell division errors in mouse oocytes.

(see links - and

This PhD position now aims to understand the molecular mechanism by which these and other related mechanisms act in order to prevent segregation errors in the mouse oocyte. In the future we may then determine why human oocytes are let down by these processes. This information will be of significant importance to the 70,000+ patients undergoing IVF each year in the UK.

To achieve this the student will uncover the molecular basis of key interactions between proteins involved in preventing aneuploidy in mouse oocytes. We will employ techniques such as specialised cell culture, microinjection, live fluorescence imaging, immunofluorescence, immunoprecipitations, Bio-ID assays and Yeast-2-Hybrid screening assays. Expert training will be delivered in all areas by the primary supervisor (, team of specialist collaborators and our world class imaging support team ( The study will be based at Newcastle’s Biosciences Institute ( but with the opportunity for a period of study at Edinburgh University.

In addition to techniques based learning, the student will also join our mentorship programme and Cell Division Biology Research Group ( as a member of a supportive team of PhD and Post-Doctoral scientist with similar interests, participating regularly in broad ranging group meetings and scientific symposia.


Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr Suzanne Madgwick (, Biosciences Institute (

Eligibility Criteria

You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree in biomedicine, physiology, genetics or related subject area. A further qualification such as an MSc or MRes is advantageous. This award is available to UK and EU applicants only.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system (

Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:
•insert the programme code 8300F in the programme of study section
•select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences(full time) - Biosciences’ as the programme of study
•insert the studentship code bi005 in the studentship/partnership reference field
•attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code bi005 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
•attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications


For further details, please contact:

Dr Suzanne Madgwick (
Newcastle University
Biosciences Institute (

E-mail: [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

A 3 year studentship at UKRI studentship rates ( - stipend of £15,285 per year).

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