PhD Studentship: Genetic Interrogation of Epigenetic Pathways

Updated: about 2 months ago
Location: Cambridge, ENGLAND
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 07 Feb 2021

Fully funded, four-year PhD studentship: Genetic interrogation of epigenetic pathways

University of Cambridge - The Gurdon Institute

Reference: PR25362

Closing date: 7th February 2020

Applications are invited for a fully funded four-year PhD studentship at The Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, where you will work in the Tchasovnikarova Lab using genetic technologies to study chromatin biology.

This studentship project will explore the mechanisms through which mutations in chromatin regulators cause disease. Over half of human cancers contain mutations in chromatin regulators, but our lack of understanding of how these factors exert their function in healthy human cells hampers our ability to design optimal therapeutics. The successful candidate will undertake a four-year research project with the goal of discovering novel factors that are critical for epigenetic repression.

The project will be centered around the use of high-throughput genetic technologies to interrogate the mechanism of action of chromatin-modifying factors. You will generate fluorescent cell lines capable of reporting on the function of key repressive pathways, which you will then characterise using genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genetic screens and other cutting-edge genetic techniques. You will first seek to understand how these factors mediate epigenetic silencing in healthy human cells, and then go on to consider how mutations in these factors might lead to dysregulation of gene expression in diseases such as cancer. At the end of the studentship you will have gained a broad range of key experimental and transferable skills, which will provide an effective springboard towards a successful research career in the biological sciences.

Relevant recent publications include:

Tchasovnikarova IA et al (2015) Epigenetic silencing by the HUSH complex mediates position-effect variegation in human cells. Science, 348 (6242): 1481-5

Tchasovnikarova IA et al (2017) Hyperactivation of HUSH complex function by Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease mutation in MORC2. Nature Genetics, 49: 1035-1044

You will work in the Tchasovnikarova laboratory, based at the Gurdon Institute which is situated in the heart of historic Cambridge. The Gurdon is a thriving academic community which includes around 60 postgraduate students. You will also become a member of the Department of Biochemistry. Your academic and social life will be enhanced by your affiliation with Peterhouse College, through which you will have access to accommodation in central Cambridge and a wide variety of student clubs, societies and activities.

Further information can be found on the lab webpage,  

Funding: For home students, the position is fully funded: you will receive an annual stipend of £15,591, and your University tuition fees will be fully covered for four years starting from October 2021. Students not qualifying for 'home' fee status may be eligible for a fee waiver; for further information on how your fee status is determined, please visit

Academic Requirements: Applicants should have or should shortly expect to obtain a minimum of a UK II.i Honours Degree (or equivalent) in the biological sciences. We are looking for highly motivated, enthusiastic and industrious individuals who are capable of thinking and working independently.

English Language: The University requires a high level of proficiency in English. For details, please visit

Closing Date: The closing date for applications is 7th February 2021. Interviews will be held in late February/early March.

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