Department of Genetics and Genome Biology

Available PhD projects

Browse some of the PhD projects available within the Department of Genetics and Genome Biology. For a full list of projects, please visit FindAPhD.

Dr Richard Badge

We are interested in the impact of L1 retrotransposons on human genetic variation and gene expression, the development of retrotransposon based marker systems for use in chimpanzee conservation genetics, and the IAP retrotransposon activity in mouse cell lines deficient in DNA methylation.

Dr Chris Bayliss

My group studies genetic variation in bacterial pathogens, with a particular focus on the hypermutable sequences of Neisseria meningitidis (causative agent of septicaemia and meningitis) and Campylobacter jejuni (a major cause of food-borne gastroenteritis. Current PhD projects concern:

  • Genetic variation during persistent, asymptomatic meningococcal carriage
  • Adaptation of Campylobacter jejuni to selection during model infections and in response to bacteriophage infection
  • Understanding the importance of mutability to bacterial adaptation and survival

Student projects involve combinations of molecular genetics, microbial bioinformatics, epidemiology, functional studies of bacterial virulence attributes and mathematical modelling of the dynamics of adaptation.

Professor Raymond Dalgleish

Human genome sequence variants should be reported in the literature and in clinical reports using the HGVS sequence variant nomenclature (den Dunnen et al., 2016). This requirement is endorsed by several international organisations which regulate standards-compliance in clinical genetics testing. However, published and anecdotal evidence shows that the quality of reporting is variable, with examples of incorrect syntax and/or data being presented in the literature. Such errors certainly lead to confusion, but might also result in inappropriate medical treatment in certain instances.

VariantValidator (Freeman et al., 2017) has been developed as a software tool to provide rigorous checking of sequence variant descriptions with respect to syntax and data inconsistencies. We are building software tools to help researchers and clinicians ensure that sequence variation data are accurate, exchangeable and fit for purpose in the era of genome sequencing.

Professor Yuri Dubrova

We are interested in the long-term genetic effects of exposure to environmental mutagens, including ionising radiation. The work in our group focuses on the genome-wide analysis of mutation induction in the germline of irradiated human in mouse families (next generation sequencing), the long-term radiation-induced changes in gene expression, and the transgenerational effects of parental exposure to mutagens. 

Professor Flaviano Giorgini

We use a variety of genetic, molecular, biochemical and microscopic approaches to understand the underlying mechanisms of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Huntington's diseases. We have particular interests in the roles of the kynurenine pathway, altered vesicle trafficking and mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of these disorders, with the goal of developing novel therapeutic strategies.

Professor Mark Jobling

We are interested in patterns of human genetic diversity, and how these are influenced by population-level processes including migration, social organisation, language and culture, as well as fundamental genome-level processes of mutation, copy number variation, gene conversion and recombination. Our work has a translational aspect in forensic genetics and genomics.

Professor Charalambos Kyriacou

There are a number of possible project areas available in the Drosophila laboratories, such as:

  1. Aggression in Drosophila
  2. Sleep and circadian rhythms in the fly
  3. The molecular control of tidal rhythms in the sea louse Eurydice pulchra
  4. Proteomic approaches to studying the fly clock

Dr Eamonn Mallon

We are interested in the role of epigenetics in social insect biology. Epigenetics is the stable and heritable change in a gene's expression, with no change in the underlying genomic sequence. Social insects (ants, bees, wasps and termites) have come to the fore recently in epigenetic research, due to the discovery of a fully-functional methylation (the main epigenetic tag) system in these insects.

Dr Celia May

Current projects in the laboratory offered by Dr Celia May are concerned with genome variability, meiotic recombination and genome instability, particularly within the pseudoautosomal regions of the human sex chromosomes.

Dr Julie Morrissey

Antimicrobial resistance and high levels of air pollution causing increased respiratory disease are major public health concerns according to the World Health Organisation. Our ground-breaking research has shown that bacterial infection is affected by air pollution, and that environmental stress impacts antibiotic resistance. Our aims are to use a range of molecular microbiology techniques to further investigate antibiotic resistance, to elucidate the impact of air pollution on bacteria and respiratory disease, and to identify new therapeutic targets to prevent infection by two major global respiratory pathogens, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumonia.

Professor Marco Oggioni

We have PhD projects available in three areas, which focus on recent work streams in the lab. The first area relates to the discovery that pathogenic bacteria are able to replicate efficiently within a subset of splenic macrophages (Ercoli et al., Nature Microbiology 2018; Chung ALTEX 2018), the second area is around gene regulation by phase variable methylation (De Ste Croix et al., FEMS Microbiol. Rev. 2017; Manso et al., Nature Commun. 2014) and the third is related to the investigation of the molecular mechanisms of antimicrobial drug resistance (Furi et al., Front Microbiol. 2016; Grandgirard et al., BMC Genomics. 2015). The references listed will give an idea of the work of the group of Professor Oggioni which is associated with the three aforementioned work streams.

Dr Ezio Rosato

We welcome enquiries from motivated and self-funded individuals. We offer PhD projects in the following areas:

  1. Entrainment of the circadian clock of Drosophila
  2. Sleep homeostasis and circadian clock in Drosophila
  3. Memory, learning and clock in Drosophila
  4. Marine clocks

Professor David Twell

We are interested in the molecular control of plant reproduction and in crop fertility. We use molecular, genetic and genomic approaches to study key processes that determine the success of mating and the production of seeds. The basic knowledge and tools arising from our research informs new plant breeding strategies that will help to maintain food security. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact me to discuss areas of interest and research objectives.

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