Think you know the structure of DNA? Think again. It is often assumed that DNA exists only as the iconic Watson-Crick “twisted ladder” double helix; but it can actually adopt many different types of structures. These “alternative” structures may play a role in gene expression (whether genes are switched on or off) and also in the development and progression of genetic diseases. Compared to the classical double helix, far less is known about these structures, how and when they may form in the genome. Potentially, targeting these alternative DNA structures could allow for specific interventions and therapeutics for genetic diseases such as cancer or diabetes.
Imagine being able to have an indication of the types of DNA/RNA secondary structure present at any one time in an organism. This PhD project will involve developing chemical probing methods to reveal the structure of DNA in cells on a genome wide scale. The project will be highly interdisciplinary and will involve training in a wide range of techniques: bioinformatic analysis of where alternative DNA structures are in the genome; identifying alternative DNA structures using biophysical techniques and cell biology and molecular biology methods to develop new techniques to identify alternative DNA structures in cells. Led by Dr Zoë Waller and Dr Yiliang Ding, there will be the opportunity to work using different facilities in the school of Pharmacy at UEA, the John Innes Centre and also in the Norwich Research Park.
The student will have, or expect to obtain a first class, 2(i) or equivalent Honours degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Pharmacy or a related area.
Informal enquiries are welcomed: please contact Dr Zoë Waller ([email protected]
) or Dr Yiliang Ding ([email protected]
Project supervisor: https://people.uea.ac.uk/z_waller
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: https://biodtp.norwichresearchpark.ac.uk/
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.
i) Brooks, TA; Kendrick, S; Hurley, L; Making sense of G-quadruplex and i-motif functions in oncogene promoters FEBS J. 2010, 277, 3459.
ii) Day, HA; Pavlou, P; Waller, ZAE; i-Motif DNA: structure, stability and targeting with ligands. Bioorg Med Chem. 2014, 15, 4407