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Waves, flares, oscillations – complex mechano-biochemical dynamics on the surface of vertebrate cells

   School of Biological Sciences

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  Prof Andrew Goryachev  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Looking to join a successful international project on the nexus of cutting edge biophysical modeling and biological experiment?

A PhD project is available to study complex nonlinear dynamics on the cell surface of large vertebrate cells, oocytes and embryos. This behaviour includes dramatic waves of biochemical activity and cytoskeleton polymerization and other biological manifestations of oscillatory and excitable dynamics. The project involves construction and simulation of biophysical models based on reaction-diffusion equations and, depending on the student’s interests and qualifications, may involve biomechanics of the actomyosin cortex. The project is a close collaboration with leading cell and developmental biologists and includes advanced analysis of multidimensional fluorescence imaging data. Strong communications and language skills are required. The project is suitable for graduates with training in mathematics, physics, and chemical engineering and interests in biology as well as biological and soft matter physics.

This project will be open for competition for funding in the autumn 2021 to start in October 2022. Candidates who are able to secure their own funding can apply at any time. However, all interested candidates are strongly advised to directly contact the supervisor ([Email Address Removed]) before applying.

The Goryachev group works on the interface of mathematical modelling, soft matter physics, and cell biology. The student will have an opportunity to learn science and methods of the above disciplines and acquire practical skills in the design of biological models, theoretical analysis and numerical simulation of reaction-diffusion equations. The student will receive training in nonlinear dynamical systems, bifurcation theory and stability analysis. With continuing coaching and guidance, the student is expected to read and interpret biological literature, construct models and perform their numerical simulation and analysis. The project offers an excellent opportunity to enter modern cutting-edge research on the interface of biological and physical sciences while contributing to publications in the high-profile journals.

Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6) Mathematics (25) Physics (29)


1. W. Bement, M. Leda, A. Moe, A. Kita, M. Larson, A. Golding, C. Pfeuti, K-C. Su, A. Miller, A. Goryachev, G. von Dassow, Activator-inhibitor coupling between Rho signalling and actin assembly makes the cell cortex an excitable medium, Nature Cell Biol., 17(11), 1471 – 1483 (2015).
2. R. Stephenson, T. Higashi, I. Erofeev, T. Arnold, M. Leda, A. Goryachev, A. Miller, Rho flares repair local tight junction leaks, Dev. Cell, 48(4), 445 – 459 (2019).
3. C. Reyes, M. Jin, E. Breznau, R. Espino, R. Delgado-Gonzalo, A. Goryachev, A. Miller, Anillin regulates cell-cell junction integrity by organizing junctional accumulation of Rho-GTP and actomyosin, Curr. Biol. 24(11), 1263 – 1270 (2014).

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