Skeletal muscle is important for health and well-being throughout life. To understand better the factors that contribute to the maintenance of this important tissue, we study its development in the embryo. It is known that many of the genes and mechanisms that control embryo development are conserved across species and perform similar functions in adult organisms. This is also the case for small non-coding RNAs, called microRNAs, which are highly expressed in developing and mature skeletal muscles, where they can have protective functions, for example in ageing or disease. To discover the full potential of microRNAs for healthy muscles we are using functional experiments in early avian embryos in ovo. We showed that muscle specific microRNAs, so-called myomirs, negatively regulate the expression of crucial transcription factors and epigenetic regulators (Pax3, Gli3, BAF60a/b). This is essential to provide robustness to developmental timing during the progenitor to myoblast transition, and to stably establish the myogenic differentiation programme. This new project will investigate further the role of myomirs for chromatin accessibility and thus the regulation of gene expression in embryo myogenesis. Using established experimental manipulations followed by genome-wide analysis using next generation sequencing, the student will characterize chromatin accessibility and identify novel cis-regulatory elements (CRE). These will be validated in vivo using time-lapse imaging and CRISPR-editing and their role in early muscle development will be tested. The student will be fully integrated into a lively laboratory investigating different aspects of skeletal muscle and cardiac development in avian embryos.
The Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) is open to the UK and international candidates for entry in October 2022 and offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year PhD 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 placement (PIPS) during their study. The placement 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.
This project has been shortlisted for funding by the NRPDTP programme. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on Tuesday 25th January, Wednesday 26th January and Thursday 27th January 2022.
You can visit the Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership for further information on eligibility and the application process.
Our partners value diverse and inclusive work environments that are positive and supportive. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.