The regulation of neural crest specification: It will all Myc sense (WHEELER_U16HDTP) The regulation of neural crest specification: It will all Myc sense (WHEELER_U16HDTP)

Primary Supervisor: Dr Grant Wheeler (

Project Description

c-Myc is an important transcription factor which binds promoters of active genes, stimulates recruitment of the elongation factor p-TEFb and promotes transcription elongation. Regulation of gene expression at the level of transcriptional elongation is important in stem cells and tumour cells, but its role in the whole animal during development is only now being fully explored. We use neural crest (NC) cells, which are a multipotent population of cells that migrate during early development from the dorsal neural tube throughout the embryo where they differentiate into a variety of cell types including pigment cells, cranio-facial cartilage and sensory neurons. How specification of the NC is both spatially and temporally regulated during embryonic development is still unresolved and this project will test the role of c-Myc. We have shown that c-Myc is regulated at the level of transcriptional elongation. c-Myc is also regulated by Wnt signalling but exactly how is not clear. Wnts are extracellular signalling proteins and both Wnt and c-Myc are known to be important for NC specification.  In this project the student will determine how Wnt signalling controls c-Myc activation and stabilization during NC specification. This will use cell based approaches and the developmental model organism Xenopus. The student will also use a whole genome approach to identify how c-Myc interacts with NC enhancers during early Xenopus development.

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: