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BBSRC MRes/PhD Studentship - Alu repeats, cancer and genetic disease

This job is no longer available

Newcastle University
16 April 2012
North East England > Tyne & Wear
Course fee
not specified

Further information

BBSRC MRes/PhD Studentship - Alu repeats, cancer and genetic disease

  • Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)
  • Reference Code: CB074


Name of the supervisors
Dr N Watkins , Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences

Dr J Brown , Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences


This studentship is sponsored by BBSRC as part of the  Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)


Duration of the award
4 years (MRes Medical and Molecular Biosciences followed by a three year PhD


Project description
Only a small fraction of our DNA codes for proteins, with a substantial amount of the remainder being repeated sequences. Of this, the largest class is Alu elements, which comprise 10% of the human genome. Alu repeats are generated by retrotransposition, whereby transcripts from existing Alu elements are reverse transcribed into DNA and inserted back into the genome.

The mobility of Alu elements can cause problems, and a number of inherited human diseases including cancers, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes are linked to Alu insertions. In addition, Alu transcripts can themselves have functions, and changes to Alu RNA abundance can be causal in diseases. An example is age-related macular degeneration, where toxicity associated with increases in Alu RNA abundance causes retinal cells to die. Regulation of Alu RNA levels is therefore critical to the cell. Surprisingly little is, however, currently known about how Alu RNAs are processed and degraded.

Given the importance of these events to human health it is pertinent to investigate them. In this project, the student will identify factors involved in Alu RNA processing and turnover and how the factors involved may contribute to diseases linked to Alu repeats. During the project the student will gain extensive training in cell culture, transfection, RNAi, analysis of RNA and RNA-protein complexes and fluorescence microscopy.


Value of the Award and Eligibility
Depending on how you meet the BBSRC's eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award. A full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of £13,590 (2011/12).   A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.


Person Specification
Candidates should have or expect to achieve a First Class or 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant science subject


How to Apply
You must complete the University's postgraduate application form . Select "Master of Research/Doctor of Philosophy (Medical Sciences) - Cell and Molecular Biosciences" as the programme of study. Only mandatory fields need to be completed (no personal statement required) but you must attach a copy of your CV and a covering letter, quoting the title of the studentship and reference number CB074.


Closing date for applications 
Prompt application is advised as this post is only available until a suitable candidate is appointed


Further Information
For further details, please contact:

Dr N Watkins, , +44 (0) 191 222 6991



Newcastle University

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