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The Transcription Factor Landscape of Splicing Factors in Cellular Senescence - Medicine, PhD (BBSRC SWBio DTP Funded)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr L Harries
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The South West Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (SWBio DTP) is a BBSRC-funded PhD training programme in the biosciences, delivered by a consortium comprising the Universities of Bristol (lead), Bath, Cardiff, Exeter, and Rothamsted Research. Together, these institutions present a distinctive cadre of bioscience research staff and students with established international, national and regional networks and widely recognised research excellence. The partnership has a strong track record in advancing knowledge through high quality research and teaching in partnership with industry and government.

This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the South West Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (SWBio DTP). Up to 4 fully-funded studentships are being offered to start in September 2018 at the University of Exeter.

Supervisory Team:

Main supervisor: Prof Lorna Harris
Co-supervisor: Prof Mark Lindsay
Co-supervisor: Dr Chris Scotton
Collaborator: Dr Ryan Ames
Collaborator: Dr Alison Tyson Capper

Location: University of Exeter, RILD, Exeter

Project Description:

Genes make proteins by producing messages containing the instructions to build them. Most genes can make several types of message depending on which proteins are needed to respond to challenges such as infection, heat stress, chemicals or cold. As we age, our cells become less able to regulate which types of message are made, which contributes to the ageing process because our genes are not switched on or off as they should be. The decision as to which form of message is produced is made by a class of genes called splicing factors.

By restoring levels of splicing factors to levels similar to those seen in younger cells, we have been able to reset the correct production of messages to a situation closer to that seen in younger cells and to reverse some of the effects of ageing in cells grown in the test tube. In this project, we aim to use a variety of molecular, cellular and computational techniques to identify how splicing factors are themselves regulated, what the consequences of changes in the levels of their regulators are for ageing cells and importantly, whether changes to any of this regulatory machinery is able to ‘turn the clock back’ and restore function to old cells. These studies will inform us on the fundamental changes that happen in ageing cells and by extension ageing people, and may form the front line of an entirely new approach to ensure good health and quality of life for our ageing population in the future.

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology. Applicants with a Lower Second Class degree will be considered if they also have Masters degree or have significant relevant non-academic experience.

In addition, due to the strong mathematical component of the taught course in the first year and the quantitative emphasis in our projects, a minimum of a grade B in A-level Maths or an equivalent qualification or experience is required.

If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.5 in IELTS and no less than 6.5 in any section by the start of the project. Alternative tests may be acceptable, please see

Students from EU countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award but no stipend. Applicants who are classed as International for tuition fee purposes are not eligible for funding. Further information about eligibility can be found in the following document:

Funding Notes

For UK/EU nationals who meet the residency requirements outlined by the BBSRC, the studentship will cover funding for 4 years (48 months) as follows. These awards might be available to part-time students, but only in exceptional circumstances, in which case the funding will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

• Stipend at the standard Research Council UK rate; currently £14,553 per annum for 2017-2018
• Research and training costs
• Tuition fees (standard Research Councils UK rate)
• Additional funds to support fieldwork, conferences and a 3-month internship

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