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.
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
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.
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 http://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/language-requirements/profile-c/
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: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/documents/studentship-eligibility-pdf/