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

02 / 10 / 2017

Identification of novel enhancers specific to Neural Crest (WHEELER_U18DTP1)

how to apply

Neural Crest cells (NC) are a multipotent population of cells found only in vertebrates, specifically in the embryo. They originate at the border of the ectoderm and neuroectoderm where they undergo an epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and then migrate to various parts of the embryo where they differentiate into important issues such as parts of the heart, the peripheral nervous system, the cartilage of the face and pigment cells. They are therefore of importance for normal development and errors in their development are the cause of many birth defects. 

Understanding the regulatory elements required for NC specification is important in order to understand how NC are first specified and then induced during development. Understanding these processes will help in developing techniques to engineer specific cells and tissues that the NC give rise to and which could be used in stem cell and regenerative therapies. We have previously shown c-Myc to play a crucial role in NC development (Hatch et al. 2016). We have now carried out ATAC-seq on Xenopus embryonic tissue induced to form NC to determine the active enhancers and promoters. In this project the student will focus on analyzing and validating the ATAC-seq data we have generated. In particular they will concentrate on the role of c-Myc in regulating NC development by analyzing its role as a transcription factor binding to specific active regions. This project is supported by pilot data and the student will benefit from established methods and expertise.

Hatch et al. (2016). The Positive Transcriptional Elongation Factor (P-TEFb) is required for Neural Crest Specification. Developmental Biology, 416: 361-372