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PhD studentship in Cell and Molecular Biosciences - The slumbering mitochondrion awakes: monitoring mitochondrial gene expression during the early stages of embryo development

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  • Full or part time
    Prof R Lightowlers
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Number of awards

Start date and duration
28 September 2020. 3 Year PhD

Application closing date
Wed 6 May 2020

Are you interested in developmental cell biology ? How are organelles built as the cells in the early embryo divide ? To answer this question, we offer an exciting project to visualise newly made mitochondrial protein at the earliest stages of development as a marker for how mitochondria keep pace with the dividing cells.

This project is a cross-disciplinary collaboration between mitochondrial and developmental cell biologists in the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research and Newcastle Fertility Centre.

The successful applicant will be trained to isolate and prepare mammalian cells during oogenesis, for in vitro fertilisation and embryogenesis. Mitochondria encode a small number of proteins, which are all critical for life. Newly made mitochondrial proteins will be followed for the first time at these stages of early development using click chemistry and super resolution microscopy techniques. Nascent transcription will also be followed by single molecule RNA FISH. Together, these techniques will provide a full understanding of how mitochondrial gene expression is regulated during oogenesis and embryogenesis.

Newcastle University

Name of supervisor(s)
Professors Bob Lightowlers (, Mary Herbert and Zofia Chrzanowska-Lightowlers (

Eligibility Criteria
You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant biological discipline. A further qualification such as an MSc or MRes is advantageous.

This award is available to UK/EU and international applicants.

To study this course you need to meet the following English Language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all other sub-skills).

How to apply
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’ (

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 – Biosciences as the programme of study
insert the studentship code BI011 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 BI011 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

* The online application system will only allow one application using the programme code 8300F. If you are applying for TWO or more projects using that code then you will need to email our Postgraduate Admissions Service ([Email Address Removed]) with the following information:

your application number (from the first project application that you submitted online)
the second studentship code and its corresponding title
a two page covering letter for the second project
Our Postgraduate Admissions Service will then forward this information to the relevant selector in the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

Professor Bob Lightowlers ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £15,285 (full award). Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

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