Developmental Systems Biology of the Eye - Taming an Excitable Gene Network (GROCOTT_U18DTP)

University of East Anglia
October 04 2017
Life Sciences, Biology
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

In recent years, researchers have begun to exploit the embryo's remarkable capacity for self-organisation by coaxing human pluripotent stem cells to recapitulate normal developmental programmes in vitro. The resulting ‘organoids' hold great promise for investigating human genetic diseases, drug development and regenerative therapies. Yet organoids are less robust than their embryonic counterparts, their development less predictable.

The project aims to underpin retinal organoid technology by learning how the embryonic retina places the correct tissues in the right place, at the right time, every time.

We recently identified a self-organising gene network that can spontaneously position different tissues within the retina, but this network is somewhat excitable and so potentially unpredictable. The project will therefore investigate a secondary gene network that may act to stabilise the first, ensuring that the correct tissue pattern is generated robustly and reproducibly.

The project will provide interdisciplinary training in molecular biology, chick embryology, live-imaging and computational modelling.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 9th, 10th or 11th January 2018.

The Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4 year 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 (PIPS) during their study. The internship 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.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Funding notes

Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,553pa - 2017/8), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate, and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships, which when combined will equal a full studentship. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements. Details on eligibility for funding on the BBSRC website:


This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess

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