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Developing a novel platform to map endogenous gene expression in vivo for correlation to life course heart health in murine models

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  • Full or part time
    Dr McGinty
    Dr Van de Pette
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Supervisors: Professor Amanda Fisher, Professor Paul French, Dr James McGinty ([email protected]) and Dr Mathew Van de Pette ([email protected])

Applications are invited for this MRes/PhD studentships within the BHF Centre of Research Excellence at Imperial College London, one of five starting October 2016. The studentships are funded through a training grant from the BHF on a tax-free bursary starting from £17,500 per annum. Tuition fees will be paid at the Home/EU rate. There is no provision for overseas student fees.

Imperial College London’s BHF Centre of Research Excellence, sponsored by the UK’s leading charity for pioneering research into heart disease, is an established cross-disciplinary venture. Our aim has been to foster a unique collaborative research environment that draws on Imperial’s world class reputation in cardiovascular science, engineering and collaborating physical sciences.

Project summary
Mammalian Utrophin and Dystrophin are paralogous genes that are important for skeletal and cardiac muscle function, but are expressed sequentially during ontogeny. We will study the processes that regulate this switch in gene expression, using new mouse models to image gene expression in development and to profile epigenetic modifications that curtail Utrophin expression. We aim to explore whether epigenetic interventions are useful in Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy. MRes Project 1 will use RT-PCR and RNA sequence analysis to examine gene expression in muscle samples throughout development. This data is used to identify critical time points where Utrophin is silenced in favour of Dystrophin; bisulphite sequencing and histone ChIP analysis will be used to evaluate relevant chromatin-based changes at the Utrophin locus at these times. MRes Project 2 will exploit two new mouse reporter lines where Utrophin and Dystrophin expression will be detected using luciferase and LacZ read out, with photoacoustic imaging and optical projection tomography. A subsequent multidisciplinary PhD project based between the CSC and the Physics Department will build upon data generated by projects 1 and 2 to investigate whether epigenetic drug treatment can be used to prolong the expression of Utrophin into adulthood. Applicants should have a strong interest in multidisciplinary science and a first degree in physics, engineering or a relevant area of biology.

Students will first undertake the MRes in Biomedical Research, a full-time master’s course in the Cardiovascular Science, Technology and Medicine (C/STEM) stream, with projects and taught classes provided by BHF Centre members. Our trainees receive cross-disciplinary supervision, with at least two supervisors drawn from different Faculties or Departments. Upon successful completion of the MRes year, students will progress to a 3 year PhD training programme in an aligned area.

Imperial College London provides excellent opportunities for research student training. All students benefit from a full programme of training in research and transferable skills organised through the Graduate School, the quality of which has been recognised several times at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards.

How to Apply
Applicants must hold, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in an appropriate subject from a recognised academic institution. Candidates must fulfil College admissions criteria and meet BHF residency requirements. To apply, please send your CV, the names and addresses of at least two academic referees and a personal statement of no more than 1,000 words explaining your interest in a cross-disciplinary approach to cardiovascular science relevant to the project to Dr Gunvanti Goding by email on [email protected]

Please assume that your application has not been successful if you have not heard from us within a month of the closing date.

Closing date for all applications: 15th February 2016

Interviews will be held in March 2016

Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/nhli/

Committed to equality and valuing diversity. We are also an Athena Silver SWAN Award winner and a Stonewall Diversity Champion.

Funding Notes

The studentships are funded through a training grant from the BHF on a tax-free bursary starting from £17,500 per annum. Tuition fees will be paid at the Home/EU rate. There is no provision for overseas student fees.

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