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Understanding the molecular and biophysical mechanisms that drive cell contact re-establishment after division


Biosciences Institute

Dr J Rodriguez , Dr T Davies , Prof J Higgins Friday, January 22, 2021 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Newcastle United Kingdom Biochemistry Bioinformatics Cell Biology Developmental Biology Genetics Molecular Biology

About the Project

This BBSRC DTP studentship provides an exciting opportunity to join a vibrant scientific community studying cell division using cutting-edge technologies (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, critical for embryo development and tissue integrity.

Research project

Cells are generally not found 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 this process, supporting the success of the 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 key biomechanical parameters and 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 https://www.ncl.ac.uk/medical-sciences/people/profile/josanarodriguez.html 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 https://www.dur.ac.uk/research/directory/staff/?mode=staff&id=19130 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 https://www.intogral.com/index.html) that designs predictive/diagnostic tools based on high-end image analyses.

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.

Informal enquiries may be made to

HOW TO APPLY 

Applications should be made by emailing with a CV 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/s and at the selected University. Applications not meeting these criteria will be rejected. We will also require electronic copies of your degree certificates and transcripts.

In addition to the CV and covering letter, please email a completed copy of the Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham (NLD) BBSRC DTP Studentship Application Details Form (Word document) to , noting the additional details that are required for your application which are listed in this form. A blank copy of this form can be found at: https://www.nld-dtp.org.uk/how-apply.


Funding Notes

CASE studentships are funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) for 4 years. Funding will cover tuition fees at the UK rate only, a Research Training and Support Grant (RTSG) and stipend. We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK and are able to offer a limited number of bursaries that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.

References

Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B (2020) 375:20190555.
eLife (2018) 7:e37677 and 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.
JCB (2019) 218:1164; Dev. Cell (2016) 36:477; EMBO (2014) 15:273.
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