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The importance of staying together; a cellular perspective


Project Description

The laboratory of Dr Josana Rodriguez has a BBSRC-DTP PhD position available. The lab (https://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/josana.rodriguez/) enjoys state of the art equipment and is situated in the ambitious and supportive research environment of the Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences (https://www.ncl.ac.uk/camb/), within the Medical School at Newcastle University (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK). We are part of a vibrant scientific community studying cell division from different angles (https://research.ncl.ac.uk/celldivisionbiology/). We are seeking an enthusiastic and highly motivated student keen to investigate the fundamental principles of cell contact re-establishment after cell division.

Cells are generally not in isolation, but embed within tissues. Therefore, after every cell division the newly formed cells need to re-establish cell-cell contacts at the nascent interfaces to maintain tissue integrity. This process is critical, the inability to coordinate cell division and cell contact re-establishment can lead to developmental issues including the initial steps of metastasis during cancer progression. Despite its importance in tissue homeostasis, the mechanisms controlling the formation of cell-cell contacts immediately after cell division remain poorly understood.

To identify genes involved in contact re-establishment after cell division, we propose an interdisciplinary approach, where we will take advantage of our large-scale genetic screens. These screens have identified regulators of early embryonic developmental processes: mainly cell division, cytoskeleton dynamics and membrane composition/organisation. Following these screens, here we will design a comprehensive phenotypic analysis to identify genes involved in cytokinesis, which is the process that completes cell division. In collaboration with our partner “Intogral” we will perform quantitative image data analyses upon loss of function of the identified cytokinesis regulators. This will help us determine key biomechanical parameters required for contact re-establishment after division. We will use this data to train a computational model to identify early signs of tissue integrity problems. In addition, the molecular characterization of the identified cytokinesis regulators (using advance gene editing techniques and super-resolution imaging) will advance our understanding of the mechanism that coordinate cytokinesis and cell contact re-establishments during embryogenesis.

HOW TO APPLY

Applications should be made by emailing with a CV (including contact details of at least two academic (or other relevant) referees), and a covering letter – clearly stating your first choice project, and optionally 2nd and 3rd ranked projects, as well as including whatever additional information you feel is pertinent to your application; you may wish to indicate, for example, why you are particularly interested in the selected project(s) and at the selected University. Applications not meeting these criteria will be rejected.
In addition to the CV and covering letter, please email a completed copy of the Additional Details Form (Word document) to . A blank copy of this form can be found at: https://www.nld-dtp.org.uk/how-apply.
Informal enquiries may be made to

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year BBSRC CASE studentship under the Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham DTP. The successful applicant will receive research costs, tuition fees and stipend (£15,009 for 2019-20). The PhD will start in October 2020. Applicants should have, or be expecting to receive, a 2.1 Hons degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. EU candidates must have been resident in the UK for 3 years in order to receive full support. Please note, there are 2 stages to the application process.

References

eLife (2018) 7:e37677; Dev Cell (2017) 42:400; Nat Cell Biol (2013) 15:103

Nat Methods (2018) 15:921; eLife (2018) 7:e36204; Dev Cell (2014) 30:209.

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