Aberrant cell migration is a critical factor in the progression of many diseases including cancer and atherosclerosis. We use the migration of a particular cell type called the germ cells as a model to gain fundamental insights into the process of cell migration and in particular the factors that attract and repel cells. We use embryos of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to study this process because of its sophisticated genetics which allow us to precisely mis-express various signalling pathways and we can watch the response of the germ cells live, with the cells in their native context. Two lipid metabolic pathways are important in regulating the directionality of germ cell migration in flies. However it is not currently known over what distances they act and how they interact together at a molecular level. This project will address these questions using a mixture of cell biology, genetics, live imaging, cell culture and biochemistry. We also have active collaborations with mathematicians who are attempting to model germ cell migration, and students with a suitable background would be encouraged to engage with these efforts. By gaining a more complete understanding of the migration of germ cells, we hope to undercover principles that will be applicable to the many other cell types that migrate in a similar fashion.
The University of Nottingham is one of the world’s most respected research-intensive universities, ranked 8th in the UK for research power (REF 2014). Students studying in the School of Life Sciences will have the opportunity to thrive in a vibrant, multidisciplinary environment, with expert supervision from leaders in their field, state-of-the-art facilities and strong links with industry. Students are closely monitored in terms of their personal and professional progression throughout their study period and are assigned academic mentors in addition to their supervisory team. The School provides structured training as a fundamental part of postgraduate personal development and our training programme enables students to develop skills across the four domains of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF). During their studies, students will also have the opportunity to attend and present at conferences around the world. The School puts strong emphasis on the promotion of postgraduate research with a 2-day annual PhD research symposium attended by all students, plus academic staff and invited speakers.
Home applicants should contact the supervisor to determine the current funding status for this project. EU applicants should visit the Graduate School webpages for information on specific EU scholarships http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/GraduateSchool/index.aspx. International applicants should visit our International Research Scholarships page for information regarding fees and funding at the University http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/studywithus/international-applicants/scholarships-fees-and-finance/index.aspx.
How good is research at University of Nottingham in Biological Sciences?
Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)