Sequencing the m6A (epi)transcriptome of C. elegans


Regulation of gene expression is essential for the development and survival of organisms and RNA is at the centre of many gene regulatory processes. There are more than 150 diverse chemical modifications found on RNA. Recent discoveries have shown that RNA modifications are dynamically regulated and they play key roles in gene regulatory mechanisms. Research in our RNA (epi)genetics group focuses on the role of RNA methylations in germline development and germ cell proliferation using the nematode C. elegans as an animal model.

The PhD project is aimed at comprehensive identification of m6A (N6-methyladenosine) modified transcripts during C. elegans development using the latest RNA-sequencing approaches. In addition, the project will combine C. elegans genetics with sequencing approaches to identify the target RNAs of the m6A methyltransferase METT-10 (human METTL16). METT-10 is an essential m6A methyltransferase required for germ cell proliferation. This is a highly exciting area of molecular biology and the project will generate novel data that will benefit many other research groups and will lead to important insights into how m6A modified transcripts affect germ cells.

We offer a multidisciplinary and supportive environment. The student will be jointly supported by our group and the group of Dr Wilfried Haerty at the Earlham Institute. The student will have a wide range of support to learn different techniques (molecular biology, biochemistry and bioinformatics) and will interact with national and international laboratories working on RNA modifications.

The student will attend conferences, seminars and our annual laboratory retreat. The student will be given internal and external mentorship and career development support. Our new RNA (epi)genetics laboratory is funded by a prestigious UK Research and Innovation funding and provides generous resources and instruments.