University of Dundee

China Scholarship Council PhD programme - Regulation of RNA cap is embryonic stem cell differentiation

The School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee, joint with the China Scholarship Council (CSC), is proud to be able to offer a scholarship programme for postgraduate research students. The scholarship covers all tuition fees and research fees and provides living expenses and one return flight ticket to successful candidates. There are up to 5 scholarships of 4 years duration available.

Project Description

We investigate the regulation and function of the mRNA cap, a modification of RNA essential for gene expression which integrates transcript processing and translation.  We are beginning to understand how oncogenes and signalling pathways can regulate gene expression via regulation of mRNA capping enzymes. Signalling pathways which modify the mRNA capping enzymes have the potential to change the gene expression landscape, thus causing changes in cell physiology.   

Our research takes a comprehensive approach including biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology and mass spectrometry, taking advantage of the latest technologies and vast expertise available at the college of life sciences.  We collaborate with the Dundee Drug Discovery Unit to explore the therapeutic potential of inhibiting mRNA cap formation in cancers. 

The student will investigate how mRNA cap formation is regulated by developmental cues in embryonic stem cells, and how this process reshapes gene expression profiles and determines cell fate. 

Galloway A, Atrih A, Grzela R, Darzynkiewicz E, Ferguson MAJ* and Cowling VH* (2020) Open Biology 2020 Feb;10(2):190306. doi: 10.1098/rsob.190306. Epub 2020 Feb 26. PMID:32097574 

Varshney D, Lombardi O, Schweikert G, Dunn S, Suska O and Cowling VH Cell Rep. 2018 May 1;23(5):1530-1542. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.04.004 PMID: 29719263 

Grasso L, Suska O, Davidson L, Gonatopoulos-Pournatzis T, Williamson R, Wasmus L, Wiedlich S, Peggie M, Stavridis MP and Cowling VH  Cell Reports 2016 Aug 2;16(5):1352-65. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.06.089. Epub 2016 Jul 21. PMID:27452456