Closing Date: 15 March 2021
PhD studentship opportunity in the laboratory of Prof. Nicoletta Bobola at the University of Manchester, UK.
This project is to be funded under the MRC Doctoral Training Partnership.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. The majority of disease-associated loci identified by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) lie in non-coding regions, but without a functional delineation of the genome, it is currently impossible to understand the importance of these variations and their contribution to biological mechanisms and disease. Epigenomic profiling of chromatin features allows the identification of active, functional regions in the genome, located outside the coding sequence of genes. We will use ChIP-seq (chromatin immunoprecipitation with massively parallel DNA sequencing) on a defined developmental time course of mouse and human embryogenesis, to identify segments of the non-coding genome active in instructing formation of the cardiovascular system. We will associate the non-coding sequences identified with human genetic variation (GWAS) to uncover genetic variants associated to heart disease and study their function in vitro and in vivo (using transfection assays in cell lines and transgenic assays in zebrafish). Abnormal development of the cardiovascular system can lead to congenital heart disease, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood. We expect that the results of this project will clarify how the human cardiovascular system develops and eventually expand diagnostic and therapeutic capacities.
The successful candidate will benefit from training in several cross-cutting skills, combining next generation sequencing (ChIP-seq, RNA-seq) and bioinformatics with traditional molecular biology and developmental biology techniques.
Candidates are expected to hold a minimum upper-second (or equivalent) undergraduate degree in a related biomedical/biological science such as Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology, Genetics or a closely related field. A Masters qualification in a similar area would be an advantage as would experience of human genetics, epigenetics and/or molecular biology techniques.
If you are interested in this project, please make direct contact with firstname.lastname@example.org