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The Mechanisms of Epigenetic Regulation in Ageing and Age-Related Neurodegeneration

   Dementia Research Institute

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  Dr Raffaella Nativio  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

We are seeking a bright, talented, and highly motivated PhD student to lead a project investigating basic mechanisms of epigenetic regulation and their involvement in ageing and age-related neurodegeneration.

While ageing is the top risk factor for neurodegeneration, the underlying mechanisms have remained unclear. The epigenetic state has been implicated in ageing and lifespan of lower organisms and thus may play a pivotal role in age-related neurodegeneration. In our previous epigenomic studies we identified histone acetylation and methylation changes associated with healthy ageing and AD (Nativio et al., Nature Neuroscience, 2018; Nativio et al., Nature Genetics, 2020). We now aim to identify the epigenetic factors and the pathways by them driven that by integrating environmental and metabolic stimuli, modulate the course of ageing and neurodegeneration. Given the association between genetic risk variants and long-distance regulatory elements, such as enhancers, particular focus will be given to the study of 3D genome conformation structures.

The successful candidate will use cutting edge genomic/epigenomic approaches such as ChIP-seq, RNA-seq, ATAC-seq, CUT&Tag and HiC; Fluorescence Activated Nuclei Sorting (FANS); gene editing tools such as CRISPR/Cas9 or CRISPRi/CRISPRa, and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) or embryonic stem cells (ESCs) culture systems. Technologies using single-nucleus transcriptomic/epigenomic analysis will also be considered.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must hold (or obtain by October 2022) a First Class or an Upper Second-Class degree (or equivalent overseas qualification) in a relevant discipline, such molecular biology or biochemistry. Imperial would normally expect successful applicants to hold or achieve a Master's degree in a related field. Prior experience with molecular biology techniques is essential. Experience using genomic/epigenomic methods, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and iPSC cell culture models will be beneficial.


Students will be registered in the Department of Brain Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine. The award is for 36 months (full time) and covers course fees at the Home rate (2022/23 fees £6,500 per annum) and a tax-free stipend starting at £19,500 per annum.

Overseas applicants, if successful, will be responsible for payment of the difference between overseas and home fees (overseas fees: currently £42,000 per annum). 

We welcome applications by self-funded students and students considering applying for a PhD scholarship.

The PhD program will start on or before October 2022.

Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Raffaella Nativio (). To be considered, please submit a full CV and the contact details of two academic referees. 

Candidates will be required to register with the College and meet the requirements for academic qualifications and English language proficiency prior to a formal offer being made.

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion

We are committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment for all. We therefore encourage candidates to apply irrespective of age, disability, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion and belief, gender identity, sex, or sexual orientation. Imperial College in an Athena SWAN Silver Award winner, a Disability Confident Leader, and a Stonewall Diversity Champion.

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