Assessing the complexity of embryonic somites with single cell genomics (MUNSTERBERG_U18DTP2)

University of East Anglia
October 06 2017
Life Sciences, Biology
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

A fascinating question in biology asks how multicellular organisms arise from a single cell: the fertilized egg. During embryogenesis, naïve and still plastic progenitor cells communicate with each other, first to form different layers and to organize the main body axes, and later to build specialized organs with highly differentiated cell types and functions. The cells in an embryo coordinate these complex events by activating gene expression programmes, often in response to extrinsic signals. The control of cell differentiation is important throughout the life of an organism, for example to repair tissue after injury or for growth and remodelling using tissue resident stem cells, which activate cellular differentiation programmes similar to those used in the embryo. However, many details of how cells progressively differentiate - at the right time and in the right place - are still poorly understood. This will be addressed here in developing somites, paired segments along the axis of vertebrate embryos, which generate much of the musculoskeletal system from an initially homogenous population of cells. The project will use advanced (low input) sequencing techniques to determine molecular profiles of progenitor cells present in early somites. By looking at different stages of somite differentiation we will characterize cellular intermediates and transition states as more specialised cell types arise.

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.

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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