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Randall Division of Cell & Molecular Biophysics

Systems level understanding of cell size regulation (part time in Italy)

 Research division: Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics in collaboration with the Institute of Mathematical and Molecular Biosciences
First supervisor: Attila Csikasz-Nagy
Second supervisor: Nicholas S.B. Thomas, Division of Cancer Studies 
Sponsor: Research and Innovation Centre - Fondazione Edmund Mach Duration: 3 years
Study mode: Full time (part of the studentship will take place at the Fondazione Edmund Mach, Italy)
Eligibility: Home/EU students only
Stipend: £19,700 p.a.
Start date:1 October 2013
Application closing date: 24 May 2013
Reference: 13/RDCMB/S03

Project description:

Cells need to couple their cell division cycle to their growth cycle to avoid increase or decrease in cell size in each generation. These processes are uncoupled during oogenesis and embryogenesis but somatic cells need to maintain their size and connect the initiation of the cell division cycle to the attainment of a critical size. It is also known that in yeasts nutrients affect the critical size as better nutrients lead to larger cell size. The PhD student will invesigate the molecular network that is responsible for the integration of signals on cell size, environmental conditions and cell cycle stage. The related pathways in yeast, plants and mammals will be incorporated into mathematical models and the models will be analyzed by tools of computational systems biology. The goal is to uncover the principles used in various organisms to measure cell size and adjust critical cell size based on nutritional changes.

The PhD fellow will collect results from the literature on size control regulation on yeast cells. Use this existing knowledge and results from collaborating labs (internal at the two institutes and from Barcelona, Cambridge and Tokyo) to build computational models of the regulatory network. Predictions of the model will be experimentally tested with the active involvment of the fellow. In the next step the orthologous pathways in higher eukaryotes (plants, mammals) will be identified by using various bioinformatics databases. The proposed higher eukaryote pathways will be turned into computational models and their predictions tested at Fondazione Mach (on plants) and at King’s College London (on mammals).

The project will be carried out part time at King’s College London and part time at Fondazione Edmund Mach (Trentino, Italy), with King’s College London giving the final degree.

Funding information

This full-time three year studentship is fully funded by the  Research and Innovation Centre - Fondazione Edmund Mach and includes tuition fees at the Home/EU rate and a generous annual stipend of  £19,700.

Eligibility criteria

Applications are open to Home/EU candidates only.

The project will be carried out part time at King’s College London and part time at Fondazione Edmund Mach (Trentino, Italy), with King’s College London giving the final degree.

How to apply

Applicants should apply using the King's online application form.

Please ensure in the Research Proposal section to add 'Dr Csikasz-Nagy' in the supervisor's 'Name' field and quote the reference '13/RDCMB/S03' in the field 'brief synopsis of our research proposal'. Please also state the project title, 'Systems level understanding of cell size regulation' where requested.

When completing the application form please do the following to ensure that you apply for the right programme/studentship:

  • Under 'type of programme' choose 'Research degrees'
  • Enter 'Molecular Biophysics' in the keyword box and click 'search'
  • From the list displayed select 'Randall Division of Cell & Molecular Biophysics' MPhil/PhD (full-time)'

Please include a copy of your CV, two references and a statement indicating why you are interested in this project with your application.

IMPORTANT Please ensure that you quote the reference 13/RDCMB/S03 under 'research proposal' and specify Dr Csikasz-Nagy as the supervisor. Please also quote the reference 13/RDCMB/S03 in the funding section under question 4d.

The deadline for applications is Friday 24 May 2013.


For further information on this studenship opportunity, please contact the first supervisor, Attila Csikasz-Nagy.

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