SAMURII PhD studentships open for applications

 27 January 2022   uncategorised

The MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences (LMS) is encouraging prospective PhD students, seeking to begin their studies in October 2022, to apply for the latest round of Strategic Alliance of MRC-University Research Investments at Imperial (SAMURII) projects.

Four fully funded 3.5 year SAMURII PhD studentships are available. All co-supervised by Group Heads from the MRC LMS and the Institute of Clinical Sciences (ICS), Imperial College London.

One of the projects on offer sees Dr Vicki Metzis, head of the LMS Development and Transcriptional Control research group team up with fellow LMS Group Head, Professor Juanma Vaquerizas and Imperial’s Professor Simone Di Giovanni. Their PhD project will explore spinal cord repair.

Dr Metzis explains the aims of this project further: “In this project we will identify genes involved in axonal regeneration following injury to the spinal cord. We will combine approaches that span the manipulation of embryonic stem cells, as well as the use of in vivo systems to examine spinal cord repair mechanisms.

“To do this, we will be using state of the art sequencing technologies. This area is rapidly evolving, allowing researchers to probe gene expression in great detail within tissues and in individual cells. This multidisciplinary effort will provide us with the potential to identify candidate genes that could aid in the repair of damaged spinal circuitry.

“I am really quite excited thinking about the possibilities that lie ahead – something which has developed thanks to the close collaborative spirit shared across the teams here at Imperial and LMS.”

Professor Vaquerizas added his support for jointly supervising the SAMURII student: “The integrative analysis of the different data modalities will bring unprecedented insight into how this system works. And the tight interaction between the three research groups will be key to tackling this exciting biological question.”

The SAMURII scheme was created in 2021 to help foster new partnerships with a focus on innovation across traditional discipline boundaries. Jointly funded by LMS and ICS, the scheme aims to support gifted postgraduate students embarking on research training at the interface between disciplines.

Dr Karen Sarkisyan, head of the LMS Synthetic Biology research group will also be an acting supervisor to one of the 2022 SAMURII studentships. The project he is advertising will support a PhD student in engineering animals that glow in the dark and report physiological changes with bioluminescence. Development of this technology could be key to allowing imaging of almost any physiological changes in longitudinal studies of freely-behaving animals.

Further information on the funding allocations and how to apply for this latest round of SAMURII PhD studentships can be found here.