Causes and consequences of short tandem repeat instability

Vacancy details:

Supervisor: Dr Conrad Nieduszynski
Co-supervisor: Dr Yilang Ding (John Innes Centre)
Start date: 01 October 2024
Application deadline: 20 November 2023
Funding 4-year Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) PhD funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Expansions of short DNA repeats are responsible for almost 50 human diseases, including Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Many important genetic traits - environmental adaptation in fish and Drosophila, gene expression variation in plants and animals, and antimicrobial drug resistance - are also linked to these. 

Repeat expansion is likely to be a consequence of impaired DNA replication. However, the underlying mechanism is poorly understood. 

We have recently developed a novel genomic technology that can detect impaired replication. This will allow us to discover pathways that the cell uses to protect the genome. 

We offer a highly collaborative multi-disciplinary PhD between the Nieduszynski (DNA replication; technology development), Ding (nucleic acid structure) and Haerty (bioinformatics) groups. The main aim of the project is to determine whether short DNA repeats form stable secondary structures which impede replication fork progression and drive genome instability. 

The student will work in a rapidly developing field, gaining unique expertise in nanopore single molecule sequencing, technology development and computational biology. These skills are in high demand for modern biological research in both academia and industry.

The project will be conducted at the Earlham Institute and John Innes Centre, BBSRC-supported, world-leading research centres in genomics and plant and microbial science. 

The student will have access to training and career development opportunities within the Institutes and on the Norwich Research Park as part of the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership.

This project aligns with the Institute’s BBSRC-funded Strategic Programme Cellular Genomics, providing access to resources, mentorship, and expertise. 

Further Reading:


Further Information:

Application deadline: Monday 20 November 2023 (23:59 i.e.,midnight).

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on 23, 24 or 25 January 2024.

Visit the NRPDTP website for further information on eligibility and how to apply.

Our partners value diverse and inclusive work environments that are positive and supportive. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.

This project is awarded with a 4-year Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) PhD studentship.

The studentship includes payment of tuition fees (directly to the University), a stipend to cover living expenses (2023/4 stipend rate: £18,622), and a Research Training Support Grant of £5,000pa for each year of the studentship.

Entry requirements:
At least UK equivalence Bachelors (Honours) 2:1 or UK equivalence Master's degree. English Language requirement (Faculty of Science equivalent: IELTS 6.5 overall, 6 in each category).

Conrad Nieduszynski, Profile Picture








Nieduszynski Group

Exploring the impact of DNA replication on genome evolution and stability.