University of Dundee

A new molecular scissors involved in DNA repair

Our chromosomes are frequently subjected to insults that damage DNA, and if not rectified the resulting DNA lesions can cause mutations and human disease. Nucleases play vitally important roles in signaling and repairing DNA damage. They also play critically important roles in processing and repairing replication forks that collapse or break. The ability of nucleases to recognize and cleave specific structures arising at stalled forks is essential for protecting and repairing these forks and for allowing DNA replication to continue. However, it is important that the activity of structure-specific nucleases is kept in check to prevent inappropriate genome cleavage that would result in genome instability and disease. This is achieved, at least in part, by tight regulation of nuclease access to chromatin. The project on offer will use cutting edge technologies, including genome editing, to investigate the roles and regulation of a poorly characterized nuclease frequently mutated in cancers. We recently found that the nuclease in question is recruited to DNA damage sites in an unusual way and we would like to understand the underlying mechanisms in detail. We are particularly keen to understand how pathological mutations in the mysterious factor derail cell function in a way that causes cancer.

At the MRC PPU, as well as the possibility of a PhD in one particular lab, we offer the possibility of two 4.5-month rotations in labs of their choice. A range of other projects from MRC PPU scientists are advertised on this website. Rotations provide valuable experience and help with deciding on the choice of PhD project and research group.

To apply, please send a CV with contact details of three referees to and a cover letter explaining why you have chosen to apply to MRC PPU to mrcppu-phd-admin@dundee.ac..uk. The closing date for this round of applications is March 31st, with interviews in April.

Eligibility