Drosophila germline stem cells (GSCs) are a premier model for understanding stem cell regulation. Upon division, one GSC daughter remains a stem cell, whereas the other differentiates into a cystoblast (CB). Translational repression of specific mRNAs within the GSC is important for it to maintain its fate, with translation of these mRNAs linked to differentiation in the CBs. At present, however, the identity of only a handful of the GSC repressed mRNAs is known. This project aims to identify novel repressed mRNAs within the GSC. This will involve mining existing genomics data within the lab to identify candidate mRNAs, followed by in vivo validation using cutting-edge imaging techniques. Gene editing will be used to disrupt the translation regulation in GSCs to ultimately test the effect of derepression of mRNA translation on cell fate. As a complementary approach, an RNA binding protein that we have found is important for GSC differentiation. Overall, data from this project will provide new insight into the process of mRNA regulation that is fundamental to every cell. Moreover, the data generated will serve as a paradigm for understanding how the fate of mRNAs within a cell contributes to the stem cell versus differentiation decision.
Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in biology or a related area. Candidates with experience with Drosophila or with an interest in gene expression and stem cells are encouraged to apply.
For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/). Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select PhD Bioinformatics.
For international students we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences. For more information please visit www.internationalphd.manchester.ac.uk