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Why do muscle stem cells need a primary cilium for effective regeneration? (MUNSTERBERGU20DTP2)

Project Description

Skeletal muscle is important for health and well-being throughout life. To understand better the factors required for the healthy maintenance of this important tissue, we study muscle stem cells (MuSC). These stem cells are resident in adult muscle, they repair muscle after injury or build new muscle after exercise and they can be detected on myofibres by immunostaining. We are specifically interested in dissecting the role of the primary cilium - a cellular “antenna” that receives signals, for MuSC function. We study a mouse mutant, which has been engineered to lack the cilium only on MuSCs. We have already found that this leads to impaired muscle regeneration after injury. This project will investigate the cellular and molecular processes that are perturbed during skeletal muscle regeneration and repair when the cilium is absent. The student will isolate genetically labelled MuSCs, both mutant and wildtype, by FACS and examine them in culture for their ability to divide, differentiate and self-renew. In addition, the student will compare the molecular profiles of MuSC with and without a cilium and use RNA-seq transcriptomics followed by differential analysis.

The student will be supported by an expert team of supervisors and will be fully integrated into a lively laboratory investigating different aspects of muscle development in model organisms.

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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