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Studying a dynamic contractile cytoskeletal network during Drosophila morphogenesis

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Awaiting Funding Decision/Possible External Funding
    Awaiting Funding Decision/Possible External Funding

Project Description

Our laboratory is interested in the mechanisms underlying morphogenesis during animal development (see To shape tissues and organs, cells undergo different behaviours, such as cell migration and shape changes. Understanding the regulation of cell behaviour is crucial to gain insights into the mechanisms underlying metastases formation, when tumour cells change behaviour and begin to spread in the body. We study the regulation of cell behaviours during the formation of the adult abdominal epidermis of Drosophila. During this morphogenetic process, the adult histoblasts replace the larval epithelial cells (LECs), whose cytoskeleton undergoes pulsed contractions. Pulsed contractions are one example for increasing evidence, which suggests that the actin cytoskeleton shows dynamic rhythmic activity. Pulsatile behaviour is driven by actomyosin contractility. Little is known about how such dynamic cytoskeletal activity is regulated in vivo. The aim of this studentship is to study the regulation of the pulsed contractions and their role in tissue morphogenesis. To tackle these questions, the student will use state-of-the-art in vivo 4D microscopy, quantitative image analysis tools, Drosophila genetics and various cell biological techniques.
We offer a collaborative and supportive research environment at Scotland’s first university, which provides top-level training and excellent imaging facilities. In addition, the University of St Andrews offers a large range of courses in transferable skills such as science communication, managing your supervisor, ethics, intellectual property etc.

Informal enquires should be addressed to Dr Marcus Bischoff ().

Funding Notes

Funding: Enquiries from Chinese nationals are particularly welcomed as the University of St Andrews has additional funding opportunities for Chinese students.
Eligibility requirements: Upper second-class degree in Biology or a related area.
Duration: 3 years.


Bischoff and Cseresnyes (2009), Development 136, 2403-11.
Bischoff (2012), Dev Biol 363, 179-90.

How good is research at University of St Andrews in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 50.45

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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