We are currently advertising National Productivity Investment Fund Industrial CASE studentships with a deadline of the 16th July 2018.

02 / 10 / 2017

Developmental Systems Biology of the Eye – Taming an Excitable Gene Network (GROCOTT_U18DTP)

how to apply

In recent years, researchers have begun to exploit the embryo's remarkable capacity for self-organisation by coaxing human pluripotent stem cells to recapitulate normal developmental programmes in vitro. The resulting 'organoids' hold great promise for investigating human genetic diseases, drug development and regenerative therapies. Yet organoids are less robust than their embryonic counterparts, their development less predictable.

The project aims to underpin retinal organoid technology by learning how the embryonic retina places the correct tissues in the right place, at the right time, every time.

We recently identified a self-organising gene network that can spontaneously position different tissues within the retina, but this network is somewhat excitable and so potentially unpredictable. The project will therefore investigate a secondary gene network that may act to stabilise the first, ensuring that the correct tissue pattern is generated robustly and reproducibly.

The project will provide interdisciplinary training in molecular biology, chick embryology, live-imaging and computational modelling.