We are seeking an outstanding individual with proven experience in devising computational solutions to data-rich bioscience problems, to help us make a step change in understanding the role that retrotransposable elements play in disease.
About the project:
Retrotransposable elements can be found throughout the human genome, and a subset of these retains the potential for mobility, posing a risk to the integrity of the host genome. Expression of these retroelements has been linked to a range of diseases including cancer, schizophrenia and autoimmune disease.
We know that retroelement mobility is primarily controlled at the transcriptional level, via epigenetic mechanisms, but much less is known regarding the post-transcriptional mechanisms of control. For example: How extensive is retroelement protein expression across tissues and diseases? What is the relative expression of the various retroelement variants? What role do post-translational modifications play in retrotransposition?
To answer these questions, we are starting to use unbiased proteomics-based approaches to produce an integrated view of retroelement regulation and expression. We have assembled an interdisciplinary team of researchers in epigenetics, proteomics, protein biochemistry and bioinformatics to work together to reveal new aspects of retroelement biology that impact on human development and disease.
The aim of this specific PhD is to devise and implement computational methods to analyse existing and newly collected proteomic mass spectrometry data to measure retroelement expression across different tissues and diseases, relating it to known genetic variants and potential post-translational modifications.
The project is supervised by Prof Conrad Bessant and Dr Paul Hurd (School of Biological and Chemical Sciences), in collaboration with Dr Miguel Branco and Prof Kenneth Linton (Blizard Instutute).
Informal enquiries about the studentship can be made to Prof Conrad Bessant by email ([email protected]
You must have a first degree (BA or BSc Honours or equivalent, at upper second class or equivalent with evidence of some 1st class work) in a relevant subject (e.g. biomedicine, biochemistry, computer science, physics) with a strong interest in developing computational solutions to biological research problems. A Masters qualification (at Merit or above with evidence of some Distinction level work) in a cognate discipline related to the studentship (e.g. bioinformatics) would be a distinct advantage, as would the ability to code. Specialist knowledge of proteomics or epigenetics is not essential, but you should have an interest in applying computational solutions to answer biological questions using data from these fields. All applicants will be judged according to the same criteria, namely: record of academic and/or professional achievement; and compatibility with the theme of the studentship.
About the Life Science Institute:
QMUL’s Life Sciences initiative aims to be a truly cross-faculty endeavour; the overall purpose of the initiative is to establish a unique life sciences cluster stretching across our east London campuses, which will act as a beacon attracting partners from higher education, NHS and industry. Working with these partners, QMUL will make significant contributions to the translational health agenda in London and beyond, benefiting patients in the local population and acting as a major catalyst for the regeneration of Whitechapel.