PhD Studentship - Molecular control of Eye Development: Investigating a Novel Gene Network at the Root of Retinogenesis- University of East Anglia

Vacancy Reference Number
Closing Date
25 Nov 2019
Funding: £15,009
University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
4 years

Start date:?1 October 2020

Studentship length: 4 years

Project sponsor: Norwich Research Park Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership

Supervisor: Dr. Timothy Grocott (

Project description: 

The eye is our primary sense organ and a major conduit through which we experience the world around us. Congenital malformations that arise in the developing embryo can compromise vision, accounting for a quarter of all childhood blindness with life-long consequences.

By learning how eyes develop in the embryo we can rationally design strategies to generate them in vitro, important applications of which include disease modelling, drug development and regenerative therapies.

This PhD project aims to investigate a Pax6 gene network that could drive selforganisation of the early retina, both in the embryo and in stem cell cultures. Pax6 was named a ‘master control gene’ for eye development, and we recently identified a network of Pax6-interacting genes with the potential to spontaneously self-organise the early retina. The project will directly test this Pax6-network by measuring key biophysical properties of its different gene products and comparing them with values predicted by computer simulations of early retinal development.

The project will develop your transferable ‘wet lab’ skills in molecular, cell, and developmental biology, and advanced imaging. You will receive rigorous training in quantitative analytical approaches, with an added opportunity to gain further skills in computational biology (computer programming, mathematical modelling; previous experience not required).

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 7th, 8th or 9th January 2020.

Person Specification:?

  • First degree (2:1 or above) in relevant subject
  • English language (IELTS 6.5 overall, 6 in each section)

For more information and to apply, please click here.