£3.7 million grant for multi-disciplinary single-molecule research

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has awarded more than three million pounds to the University of Leicester, University of Glasgow and University of Strathclyde. The grant will fund a collaborative project led by Professor Ian Eperon of the Leicester Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology at the University of Leicester. The research titled – How do RNA-binding proteins control splice site selection – is a multi-disciplinary project to investigate the molecular basis of regulation by proteins.

The award is part of a £14m grant made to fund leading-edge discovery research, funded through the strategic Longer Larger (sLoLa) grants call, which are aimed at making major advances in the understanding of the fundamental biology of living systems.

Professor Ian Eperon from our Department of Molecular and Cell Biology leading the project, he said: “We chose the BBSRC because it supports fundamental science that pushes forward the frontiers of knowledge, which is incredibly important to underpin innovation in science and its applications more generally, and the sLOLA scheme in particular was very attractive because it enables us to bring together a team spanning all the disciplines needed, from biochemistry and chemistry to physics and engineering, to develop new methodology and to work on a sufficiently large scale to reveal, we hope, the principles underlying one of the most significant and obscure areas of gene expression.”

Splicing is the process of editing information from a gene, while it is in the form of RNA, before it produces proteins. In mammals, splicing enables the production of different versions of proteins from a single RNA sequence.

By revealing the fundamental mechanisms controlling splicing at the single-molecule level, this project will allow better understanding of this complex process, reveal opportunities for novel therapies that re-direct it and give clues for how splicing might be manipulated to design synthetic genes in the future.

The team is now recruiting postdoctoral staff to support them in their research. If you have expertise in physics and nanoengineering, synthetic chemistry, physical chemistry, structural biology, single molecule biophysics or RNA biochemistry and would welcome the opportunity to work on this exciting interdisciplinary project in either Leicester, Strathclyde or Glasgow, you could be the ideal candidate.