Mechanistic models of gene regulation
A PhD position is available in the group of Dr Radu Zabet starting October 2016. The DNA in all cells of an organism is the same. What makes the great variety of tissues, or the difference between healthy and diseased tissue, is the specific set of genes that are active. Transcription factors are proteins that bind in the vicinity of genes and determine whether a gene is on or off. Although they play important roles in many biological processes, transcription factors are amongst the least abundant and most enigmatic proteins in the cell. How do they home in on their binding sites if they are so sparse? What biophysical laws govern their movements in the nucleus? How do molecular interactions on the DNA translate into the observed binding behaviours? The answers to these questions have important medical implications. Given the new developments in molecular biology techniques and Next Generation Sequencing, we have now for the first time a unique opportunity to approach these questions.
The PhD project will be on genomics, chromatin biology, computational biology and/or biophysics. The ideal candidate would have a background in a relevant numerical discipline (e.g. computer science, mathematics, theoretical physics or bioinformatics). Outstanding wet lab candidates wishing to learn bioinformatics are also encouraged to apply. A keen interest in transcription factors activity, epigenetic regulation of transcription, genomics and epigenomics is desirable. The PhD project will have a strong computational part, but can also include wet lab work. The details of the project will be agreed between the supervisor and the PhD candidate.
Zabet lab is part of the new Functional Genomics section of the School of Biological Sciences (University of Essex). The section (http://genomics.essex.ac.uk/) is lead by Prof Leonard C. Schalkwyk (Psychiatric and Environmental Epigenomics ) and is composed by the labs of Prof Meena Kumari (Biological and Social Epidemiology), Dr Pradeepa M. Madapura (Chromatin, Gene-regulation), Dr Antonio Marco (Evolutionary Genetics), Dr Jordi Paps (Evolutionary Genomics), Dr Vladimir Teif (Chromatin and Epigenetics), and Dr Radu Zabet (Computational and theoretical models of gene regulation). This section is the result of an initiative to strengthen the area of genomics in the School. On top of the state-of-the-art infrastructures and facilities available in the School, the section also has access to new labs, a cluster of servers, a MiSeq machine, as well as other major molecular biology equipment.
This is a self-funded position only. Additional questions and queries about the position can be addressed to [email protected] The target start date for this PhD position is 6th October 2016.
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