Evaluation and design of auto-regulatory feedback models for RNA-binding proteins

EPSRC funded PhD studentship: evaluation and design of auto-regulatory feedback models for RNA-binding proteins.

Start date

1 October 2022


3.5 years

Application deadline

Funding source

EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership

Funding information

Enhanced EPSRC stipend (£19,062 per annum for 2022-23, with annual increments based on inflation) and fees covered. Funding also includes a research training and support grant of £3,000 for the duration of the studentship and the cost for laboratory consumables.


Messenger RNAs (mRNAs) are the template for protein synthesis and became into spotlight for vaccine development and therapeutics. RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) bind to and control the fate of mRNAs, and aberrant expression/mutation is linked to many human diseases including cancer. Many RBPs also bind to their own mRNA and potentially infer autoregulation; however, little is known about the regulatory impact and quantitative mathematical models are elusive. In this interdisciplinary project, you will undertake a systems biology approach to quantify and develop mathematical models describing autoregulatory feedback loops for a conserved family of RBPs. Specifically, you will compare gene expression and noise levels in yeast and human cells that bear depleted or engineered autoregulatory feedback loops, and you will establish deterministic and mathematical models with computational tools. The findings will provide fundamental insight in mRNA regulation and improve mathematical models for post-transcriptional gene expression which could further the development of mRNA therapeutics.

You will work in an interdisciplinary team between the groups of Prof A. Gerber (RNA biology; Dept. Microbial Sciences, FHMS) and Dr. A. Rocco (mathematical modelling, Dept. of Physics (FEPS) and Microbial Sciences) and implement latest genetics (CRSPR/Cas9) and molecular biology (gene expression, RNA-binding assays) as well as mathematical skills (modelling with MATLAB).

The University of Surrey and our collaborative partners provide a vibrant, interdisciplinary research environment, with access to state-of-the-art facilities. We see our postgraduate researchers as an integral part of our research community, collaborating and innovating together with academics at all levels. We want the most talented researchers from diverse backgrounds to join us, bringing new ideas and perspectives. We will help you make the most of your potential, removing barriers where we can and supporting you with dedicated career guidance. We offer generous funding packages, sector-leading researcher development training and mentoring, and dedicated employability support.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants are expected to have a good honours degree (first or upper second) or a master’s degree in a Molecular Biology/Biological Sciences/ Biochemistry/Genetics or related appropriate discipline. Experience in mathematical modelling is a great plus.

This opportunity is open to UK candidates.

English language requirements

IELTS requirements: overall score of 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category.

How to apply

Please contact the supervisor (A. Gerber) providing a cover letter, CV and names of 2 referees before making a formal application to Biosciences and Medicine PhD programme page on the "Apply" tab (select October 2022 start date).

Biosciences and Medicine PhD

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Application deadline

Contact details

André Gerber
19 AX 01
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 682158
E-mail: a.gerber@surrey.ac.uk



Clarke-Whittet M., Rocco, A., Gerber, A.P. (2022) Parameterising Translational Feedback Models of Autoregulatory RNA-binding Proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Microorganisms. 10(2), 340.


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