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The importance of staying together; a cellular perspective

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  • Full or part time
    Dr J Rodriguez
    Dr T Davies
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This iCASE BBSRC DTP studentship provides an exciting opportunity to join a vibrant scientific community studying cell division using cutting-edge technologies ( We are seeking an enthusiastic and highly motivated student keen to investigate the fundamental principles of cell contact re-establishment after cell division, critical for embryo development and tissue integrity.

Research project

Cells are generally not in isolation, but embedded 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 and function. This process is critical, the inability to coordinate 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.

You will be part of a multidisciplinary team combining high-throughput genetic screens, proteomics, live super-resolution imaging and computational modelling to provide answers to this fundamental question. Our preliminary screens have already identified candidate proteins involved in cell contact re-establishment, supporting the success of this project. The cellular and molecular characterisation of the identified regulators will advance our understanding of the mechanisms that coordinate division and cell contact re-establishments during embryogenesis. In collaboration with our industrial partner “Intogral” we will determine biomechanical parameters key to contact re-establishment after division. We will use this data to train a computational model to identify early signs of tissue integrity problems, leading to a useful diagnostic tool.

Dr Rodriguez leads an active and well-established research group in the cell division field. Dr Rodriguez is based in the Biosciences Institute at Newcastle University, which is a highly successful research institute (ranked 2nd nationally for research outputs in REF2014) where PhD students contribute to the majority of our papers and members have access to state of the art equipment.

Dr Davies has recently established his research group in Durham University, bringing his great expertise in the molecular mechanisms underlying cytokinesis, the process that completes cell division.

Dr Boguslaw Obara, CTO of our industrial partner, leads a highly successful company (Intogral, based in Durham that designs predictive/diagnostic tools based on high-end image analyses.


Applications should be made by emailing [Email Address Removed] with a CV (including contact details of at least two academic (or other relevant) referees), and a covering letter – 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 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 [Email Address Removed]. A blank copy of this form can be found at:

Informal enquiries may be made to [Email Address Removed]

Please note that the closing date for applications is Monday 18th May at 12noon.

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.


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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