Epigenetic control of cell fate acquisition in developing skeletal muscle (MÜNSTERBERG_U16WDTP) Epigenetic control of cell fate acquisition in developing skeletal muscle (MÜNSTERBERG_U16WDTP)

Primary Supervisor: Professor Andrea Münsterberg (https://www.uea.ac.uk/biological-sciences/people/profile/a-munsterberga.munsterberg@uea.ac.uk)

Project Description:

Differentiated cells have varied and specialist functions in the body. We study the development of skeletal muscle cells, which differentiate into multinucleated contractile fibres that facilitate voluntary movements and maintain posture. In vertebrate embryos, all skeletal muscles in the trunk and limbs are derived from somites. In general, the differentiation of a cell from a progenitor into a mature, fully differentiated cell type is a gradual process during an organism’s development, when the potency of progenitors becomes progressively restricted towards a particular cell type. This is mediated by epigenetic changes to the genome to control gene activity. Interestingly, most of this cellular programming is dynamic and reversible – given the right signals – and this is being exploited in stem cell science, which holds lots of promise for future cell based therapies.  In this project, the student will investigate the role of chromatin-remodeling complexes called BAF/Brg1. There are different variants of these BAF/Brg1 complexes containing either BAF60a, BAF60b or BAF60c. The student will determine the genomic loci that are bound by these complexes during the early phases of skeletal muscle development. We use chick embryos as a model system, these are accessible for microinjections to perform functional experiments in vivo. Furthermore, embryonic tissues can be dissected for detailed molecular analyses and genomics approaches. This multi-disciplinary project is supported by pilot data and benefits from expert collaborators.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP).Applicants shortlisted for the Second Round of Selection (deadline for applications 26th February 2016) will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition on either the 16th or 17th March 2016.

The Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4 year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

Start date: October 2016
Programme: PhD
Mode of Study: Full Time
Entry Requirements: Acceptable First Degree: Minimum Entry Standard: 2:1

For further information and to apply, please visit our website: https://www.uea.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply