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Cardiff University School of Biosciences PhD Studentship in Molecular Biosciences: A novel regulated expression system for manipulation of insects (PhD Studentship)

Reference Number: R980
Closing Date: Closed for applications
Duration: 4 years to include taught element of Master of Research programme if applicant not already achieved a Master's degree
Level of Study: Postgraduate Research
Regions: EU (Non UK), UK
This funding opportunity is now closed for application

Cardiff University is pleased to announce the availabilty of a BBSRC funded PhD project in Molecular Biosciences: A novel regulated expression system for manipulation of insects.

Project Description

A major strand of synthetic biology involves taking a more systematic approach to genetic manipulation, “putting the engineering into genetic engineering”. A key element of this is the development of a catalogue of well-characterised, modular parts that can be put together in different combinations with predictable results. Oxitec has led the way in developing translational synthetic biology in insects. This project to develop a new control circuit for Drosophila and other insects builds on a long-standing collaboration between the academic and industrial supervisors, including the development of key modular components and insect strains.

In developing control circuits, and modular components for them, we have focused on transcriptional control elements. We have developed modular sex-specific control elements based on alternative splicing, used the tet-off gene expression system to provide a conditional switch and developed a novel ‘positive feedback’ circuit. However, a key limitation in developing more complex circuits is the lack of conditional expression systems. The tet-off system has worked well in a range of insects, however we need orthogonal (independently controllable) systems for more complex circuits, and for use in areas where tetracycline may be present for other reasons. The ideal chemical trigger would have a sensitive biological sensor yet be inert in animals. The student will develop such systems, both for transcriptional and for post-transcriptional control. Development will use Drosophila as a model, and the broad applicability will then be tested in other inescts. The tools and methods developed in this project will extend our currently rather limited set of components and design principles for translational synthetic biology in eukaryotes. The underlying design principles, and in some cases the specific components, will have uses in basic as well as applied science, and in a wider range of organisms than the models used in this project.

Supervisors: Dr H White-Cooper, Dr L Alphey

Duration: 4 years (to include taught element of Master of Research programme if applicant not already achieved a Master's degree).


Funding

The award includes full UK/EU tuition fees plus a stipend matching the UK Research Council National Minimum (for full-time students in 2012/13 this was £13,590). To be eligible for fees and stipend applicants must be a UK national/ EU national who has been resident in the UK for three years prior to their application/ EU national who has migrant worker status. EU nationals who have not been resident in the UK for three years prior to application/ who do not have migrant worker status are eligible for fees only.


Eligibility

Academic Criteria

2:1 UK honours degree/equivalent or Master's degree

English language requirements

IELTS with overall score of 6.5 and minimum score of 5.5 in each skill area (or equivalent qualification)

Residency

To be eligible for fees and stipend applicants must be a UK national/ EU national who has been resident in the UK for three years prior to their application/ EU national who has migrant worker status. EU nationals who have not been resident in the UK for three years prior to application/ who do not have migrant worker status are eligible for fees only.


How to Apply

No separate application is necessary – consideration is automatic on applying for Doctor of Philosophy in the School of Biosciences (October 2013 start) through the normal university application portal.

Please indicate the project title (A novel regulated expression system for manipulation of insects), the supervisor (Dr H White-Cooper) and the research centre (Molecular Biosciences) on your application in your research proposal and the funding section.

Application Deadline: 15 February 2013


Further Information

For more information please contact Swapna Khandavalli khandavallis@cardiff.ac.uk or +44 (0)29 2087 5243.



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