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PhD studentship in Computational Biology – Molecular signatures of ageing and their link to disease

Biosciences Institute

About the Project

Number of awards

Start date and duration
11 January 2020. The funding covers a three year PhD.

As we age, our chances of developing various diseases increases, but those chances are not the same for everybody. The aim of this PhD project is to understand how the genetic regulation of human molecular phenotypes changes with age and how that in turn drives disease development. Using DNA, transcriptomic, metabolite and proteomic data from multiple studies, the successful candidate will identify genomic regions whose function is associated with both the regulation of those molecules and with complex age-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, or cardiovascular disease. Finally, the identified genomic regions will be explored with statistical methods to quantify their predictive value for disease development.

This project presents multiple training opportunities for a candidate interested in acquiring skills in data science and clinical data analysis, including building predictive models of disease risk and analysis of high dimensional data, and in how the results should be correctly interpreted and communicated. The PhD candidate will have access to extensive genetic, molecular and clinical datasets from multiple human tissues and will work with biologists, clinicians, statisticians and computational biologists at Newcastle University and internationally.

Newcastle University

Name of supervisor(s)
Dr A Viñuela, Biosciences Institute and Professor H Cordell, Population Health Sciences Institute.

Eligibility Criteria
The candidate should have a strong desire to work on disease related questions using high dimensional data and computational methods. A willingness to interact with people from many specialities, including biologists, clinicians, computer scientists and statisticians. Keenness to present their research findings within consortia and at international meetings.

Some background in the following areas would be an advantage, but is not necessary, as attaining a level of fluency in these areas is expected over the course of the PhD:

- QTL analyses and genetic regulation of gene expression or protein levels.

- Genetic studies into complex traits and diseases.

- Computer programming with either high or low level languages.

- Statistics and knowledge of a statistical programming language.

The award is available to UK/EU applicants only.

How to apply
Applicants should send a copy of their CV and covering letter to Dr A. Viñuela ().

In addition, all applicants should complete the University’s postgraduate application system when applying for a studentship. To do this please ‘Create a new account’. Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:

• Programme code 8300F in the programme of study section

• programme of study: ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences - Biosciences’

• Insert the studentship code BI032 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 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project.

Our Postgraduate Admissions Service will then forward this information to the relevant selector in the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

For further details, please email Dr Ana Viñuela, Biosciences Institute.

Funding Notes

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £15,285 (full award).

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