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Self-funded BMS project: Neuronal Src kinases: oncogenes in brain development?

Department of Biology

York United Kingdom Biochemistry Cancer Biology Cell Biology Developmental Biology Genetics Molecular Biology Neuroscience

About the Project

The challenges of the developing human brain include co-ordinating the birth and migration of 100 billion neurons and the formation of their 1000 trillion synaptic connections. Protein phosphorylation by kinase enzymes is one of the mechanisms that orchestrates these processes. The ubiquitous and highly conserved C-Src tyrosine kinase is enriched in the brain and there is neuronal-specific splicing of C-Src to yield two further isoforms, N1-Src and N2-Src. The neuronal splice insertions in the N-Srcs render the kinases constitutively active, much like oncogenic mutations of C-Src that drive tumourigenesis in cancer. We and others have shown that the neuronal Srcs play a role in both neurogenesis and neuronal differentiation during development, but their downstream signalling is poorly understood. This project will draw on expertise in kinase signalling and neuronal gene expression in the Evans and Chawla labs to discover how N1- and N2-Src drive the differentiation of neuronal progenitors. Recent interaction, substrate and transcriptomic screens in the lab have identified several promising N-Src targets to pursue. Training will be provided in a wide range of molecular cell biology and protein biochemistry approaches. The data arising from this project will inform fundamental mechanisms of neuronal development, but will also be applicable to optimising the differentiation of neural stem cells for research and therapeutic use.

The York Biomedical Research Institute at the University of York is committed to recruiting extraordinary future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills.

Entry Requirements: Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this programme means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any biological, chemical, and/or physical science, or students with mathematical backgrounds who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological questions. 

Programme: PhD in Biomedical Science (3 years)

Start Date: 1st October 2021 (the student will be affiliated with the Department of Biology)

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded PhD research project. Applicants need to have adequate funds to meet the costs of fees and living expenses for the duration of the PhD programme.


Relevant publications:
Lewis PA et al. (2017) J Neurosci. 37(35):8477-8485
Keenan S et al. (2017) Sci. Rep. 7, 43106
Keenan S et al. (2015) FEBS Lett, 589(15), 1995-2000

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