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[ccp4bb] PhD Studentship in Meiotic Chromosome Structure

Dear colleagues,


I would like to advertise a PhD studentship that is available in my lab to study the molecular structure of meiotic chromosomes through biochemistry and structural biology. The details of the project are as follows:


PhD studentship in Biochemistry and Structural Biology – The Molecular Structure of Meiotic Chromosomes

The reduction in chromosome number during meiosis is essential for the production of haploid germ cells that produce healthy offspring upon fertilisation. This is achieved through an elaborate cellular process of chromosome ‘choreography’ during meiotic prophase, in which errors lead to infertility, miscarriage and genetic disorders such as Down’s syndrome. Rapid chromosomal movements enable the identification and synapsis of homologous chromosome pairs. Once achieved, homologues exchange genetic material through crossing over and are then moved into position at metaphase to enable their correct segregation into haploid cells. This intricate process depends upon chromosome telomeric ends being tethered to the nuclear envelope by the meiotic-telomere complex (MAJIN, TERB1, TERB2, TRF1) and connected to the cytoskeleton by the LINC complex (SUN1, KASH5). However, whilst essential for meiosis, we currently lack essential molecular understanding regarding their structure and function.


This PhD project aims to elucidate the molecular structure of the meiotic-telomere and LINC complexes, and their mechanisms of interaction with telomeres and the cytoskeleton. It will involve recombinant protein purification, biochemistry, biophysics (including SEC-MALS, SEC-SAXS, CD and EM) and X-ray crystallography. This project is part of an international collaboration with EM tomography, genetics and cellular biology groups, and will likely result in high impact research findings in the fields of cell division and chromosomal biology. The successful candidate will be a highly-motivated individual with interests in solving fundamental molecular questions of cellular function through structural biology.


Funding details

Each award is worth £18,500 per year, paying the UK/EU PhD tuition fees and providing annual living expenses of £14,057. Total value of each award is £74,000.


Eligibility Criteria

You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree or international equivalent in biochemistry or a related area. A further qualification such as an MSc or MRes is advantageous.


This award is available to UK/EU and international applicants; the studentship pays fees at the UK/EU level so international candidates would be liable for the additional international fees. If English is not your first language, you must have IELTS 7 with at least 6.5 in the written component, or equivalent.


Start date and duration

September 2017 for a three year PhD.


Application closing date

5th April 2017


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How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’.  Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:

  • insert the programme code 8300F in the programme of study section 
  • select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences – Cell and Molecular Biosciences' as the programme of study 
  • insert the studentship code CB131 in the studentship/partnership reference field 
  • attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code CB131 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project 
  • attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.


Please also feel free to contact me directly with any further queries.


Best wishes,


Owen Davies.


Dr Owen Davies

Wellcome Trust and Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellow

Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences

Faculty of Medical Sciences

Newcastle University

United Kingdom


Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 7371

e-mail: owen.davies@newcastle.ac.uk

website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/camb/staff/profile/owen.davies