Gene splicing in tissue morphogenesis


Nearly all the genes in vertebrates undergo alternative splicing, the process through which different transcripts are generated from a single gene. Despite alternative splicing being common, tissue and developmental stage specific regulation of splicing, and the importance of this mechanism in fundamental biological processes remain little understood.

The aim of the project is to provide a novel understanding of the importance and regulation of alternative splicing in the ADAMTS gene family during development. ADAMTS (A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase with /thrombospondin type I motifs) proteins are secreted enzymes with roles in tissue morphogenesis and many diseases. The student will use both computational and experimental approaches to annotate and functionally characterize transcripts through in-situ expression assays and gene manipulations in the model organism Xenopus.

We offer a highly collaborative PhD project between three research groups (Haerty: bioinformatics, Wheeler: cell and developmental biology, Edwards: developmental and cancer biology) combining computational biology and experimental developmental biology to investigate the diversity and function of alternatively spliced transcripts originating from genes of the ADAMTS family. The PhD student will gain expertise in computational biology, large datasets analysis, transcriptomics, long read sequencing technologies, genetics, microscopy and developmental biology.