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Uncovering the role of RNA m6A modification in germ cell proliferation (AKAYU20DTP1)

  • Full or part time

    Prof T Dalmay
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, November 25, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Germline stem cells are essential for the survival of organisms by giving rise to the offspring. Gene expression changes within the germ cells can affect embryonic development and in some organisms such changes are transgenerationally inherited. RNA is at the centre of many gene regulatory processes. There are currently more than 150 diverse chemical modifications found on RNA and a greater number of proteins are required for their synthesis and recognition. Recent discoveries have shown that RNA modifications can be dynamically regulated and they have been implicated in embryonic development, longevity, neurological diseases and cancers in humans and in animal models.

How do RNA modifications regulate gene expression in the germ cells? Our RNA (epi)genetics laboratory addresses this broad question using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as an animal model.

The PhD project will aim to identify the genetic interactors of an RNA m6A (N6-methyladenosine) methyltransferase METT-10 (METTL16 in humans). METT-10 is an essential RNA methyltransferase which controls mitotic and meiotic germ cell proliferation. The project will combine powerful C. elegans genetics with CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis, RNA sequencing and mass spectrometry. This project will lead to novel discoveries in a new area of biology that will influence research in multiple areas (cell cycle, stem cells and development).

We offer a multidisciplinary and supportive environment. The student will have a wide range of support to learn different techniques and will interact with national and international laboratories working on RNA modifications. The student will attend conferences, seminars and our annual laboratory retreat. The student will be given internal and external mentorship and career development support. Our new RNA (epi)genetics laboratory is funded by a prestigious UK Research and Innovation funding and provides generous resources and instruments.

Project supervisor:
Project sponsor: Norwich Research Park Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership
Type of programme: PhD
Start date: 1 October 2020
Mode of study: Full-time
Studentship length: 4 years


- First degree (2:1 or above) in relevant subject
- English language (IELTS 6.5 overall, 6 in each section)


This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 7th, 8th or 9th January 2020.

The NRP DTP offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Funding Notes

For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website: View Website. Full Studentships cover a stipend (2019/0 rate: £15,009pa), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

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