Epigentic control of muscle development: the impact of chromatin accessibility on gene regulation


Skeletal muscle is important for health and well-being throughout life. To understand better the factors that contribute to the maintenance of this important tissue, we study its development in the embryo. It is known that many of the genes and mechanisms that control embryo development are conserved and perform similar functions in the adult organism, for example during muscle regeneration and repair.

This project will identify the regions in the genome that control the genetic programme of developing skeletal muscle. We have used genomics techniques to discover candidate cis-regulatory elements (enhancers) in the proximity to genes important for muscle development. The student will use functional experiments to validate these elements in vivo using established methods, such as microinjection and electroporation of fluorescent reporter plasmids into early avian embryos. The existing genomics datasets (ATAC-seq/RNA-seq) will also be analysed in more detail using data-mining tools.

The student will receive training in both experimental, wet-lab approaches and bioinformatics analysis. They will be fully integrated into a lively laboratory investigating different aspects of skeletal muscle and cardiac development in avian embryos.