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PhD project: Epigenomics of cell-fate specification during development

In the field of “Epigenetic Regulation of Development and Disease” the research group of Dr. Vijay Tiwari offers the following PhD project: Epigenomics of cell-fate specification during development


Cellular differentiation refers to acquisition of specific cell-fates during development. It has become evident that this process involves genomewide reprogramming of epigenetic modifications such as histone marks resulting in transcriptional changes that drives cell-fate. Building on our expertise in epigenomics and gene regulation, we aim to investigate function of certain novel chromatin regulators and transcription factors in mediating epigenome and transcriptome reprogramming during lineage commitment and terminal differentiation. In particular, we will focus on following key questions:

• Does cell-fate specification into three lineages (ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm) involve different epigenetic regulators? (Objective 1). Using next generation sequencing, global transcriptome (RNA-seq) and epigenome (ChIP-seq) profiling of representative tissue types of each lineage will be performed and the data will be processed to identify lineage-specific patterns. 

• Do changes in chromatin signature alter lineage-specification? (Objective 2). To address this, we will analyze embryonic stem cells lacking enzymes that deposit certain histone marks for defects in their differentiated capacity into different lineages via transcriptome analysis (RNA-seq) and genomewide analysis for alternations in associated histone modifications (ChIP-seq). A number of key observations will further be validated in vivo.

• Could we use epigenomics data to generate predictive models of cell-fate determination? (Objective 3). Towards this, we will employ computational modeling on the datasets derived in objective 1 and 2 to derive basic principles of how various epigenetic mechanisms contribute to the gene regulatory network that drives specification of distinct cell-fates during development.

Given many untouched avenues in these fields, our research is confident to make novel discoveries on fundamental principles underlying cell-fate decisions that will be interesting for scientists engaged in basic as well as translational research..

We offer
• The possibility to work on a cutting-edge project using state-of-the-art technology in a highly motivated research team
• A stimulating, diverse and international research environment
• Advanced training opportunities
• A competitive stipend

Required qualifications
• Master or Diploma
• Motivation to solve complex biological problems
• Excellent communication skills

Starting date: 1 April 2016 or later
Duration of stipend: 3 years, with the possibility of extension
Deadline for registration (exclusively online via web form):  8 November 2015

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While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: CV-C9-VT2

About Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

Our International PhD Programme on the “Gene Regulation, Epigenetics and DNA Damage Response” gives talented and enthusiastic students the opportunity to undertake PhD research at the cutting edge of modern biology. Our groups cover a broad range of expertise and include leading biochemists, geneticists, cell and developmental biologists who study the molecular mechanisms of...

More about Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

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