Computational analysis of enhancer dysregulation in cancer

PhD position available in Ian Sudbery‘s group

Dept/School/Faculty: Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
PhD Supervisor: Dr I Sudbery
Application Deadline: Friday, January 30, 2015

How do cells integrate information to make decisions about what genes should be expressed at a given time and in a given place? How do these processes malfunction to produce disease states? The correct regulation of gene expression is essential for the proper functioning of the cell, and incorrect regulation of genes is central to the mechanisms of many diseases, not least cancer.
Transcription of metazoan genes is regulated by sequences known as enhancers which integrate diverse signals to make decisions about expression, and then communicate these decisions through their interactions with promoters. This communication is thought to take place via physical interactions between promoters and enhancers. Amongst other things, the successful candidate will undertake computational analyses of datasets produced by collaborators examining how these interactions might change during the development of cancer. There will be an opportunity to develop new analysis methods, but the focus will be on the biological contextualisation and interpretation of results in collaboration with our wet-lab partners.

The successful candidate will receive full training in programming (if necessary), the analysis of next-generation sequencing data and the integration of results with other data sources as well as gain an understanding of metazoan gene regulation. They will benefit from the resources and expertise available at the newly established Sheffield Bioinformatics Hub (

This fully funded opportunity is ideal for candidates with a good undergraduate degree in a biological subject and a strong interest in computational approaches. Programming experience is desirable, but not essential, however candidates will be expected to demonstrate some degree of comfort with mathematical and statistical approaches to problems. We will also consider applicants from a computational, statistical or mathematical background, but candidates from a non-biological background will be expected to demonstrate a strong interest in biology.
Contact for more information.

Funding Notes:
The Department offers full time PhD research projects which are fully funded for 42 months. The funding will pay the UK/ EU tuition fees and a maintenance stipend at the RCUK standard rate (£13,863 in 2014/15).

How to apply: Complete an online application ( form for admission as a postgraduate student.

Eligibility: Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, a minimum of an upper-second-class Honours degree (2.1 or above) in a biological subject.

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