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MRC DTP PhD studentship available to study genetic determinants of heart rhythm

MRC DTP PhD studentship available - September 2016 start

Project Description:

Abnormal heart rhythms can lead to stroke and sudden cardiac death, and therefore require early detection and treatment. The coordinated contraction of the heart is controlled by electrical signals which can be observed using an electrocardiogram (ECG). This exciting project will unravel the role of genetics in determining heart rhythm, in order to increase our understanding of heart rhythm biology. You will use the latest genome sequencing technology in population studies with extensive data on ECG, biomarkers and lifestyle. You will examine the association of genetic variants with the phases of the heart rhythm, which reflect the travel of the electrical signal through the chambers of the heart, and which is observed on the ECG. Through international collaborations you will work with many other groups and increase the sample sizes to over 100,000 individuals. Genetic associations will then be confirmed using multi-omic data including methylation, metabolome and transcriptome to analyse more complex interactions and provide further medical and biological insights.  This project offers an outstanding opportunity to work with state of the art genome sequencing technologies, apply and develop cutting edge statistical methods, and access massive population level data sets.

The project will provide training in a range of cutting edge experimental (genomics – handling large datasets), statistical (high dimensional regression), programming and bioinformatics skills (data analysis and integration). Additionally the student will learn about heart rhythm phenotypes and biology, and develop research planning and design skills. We are equipped with state of the art facilities to generate and analyse in vivo mutant zebrafish models. These will prove invaluable for functional characterization of novel variants identified in the course of the study, and will allow determination of the role of these variants on heart development and contractility. Importantly the student will learn from an experienced multi-disciplinary team of geneticists, statisticians and cardiologists. The LSHTM component will furthermore link into the Bloomsbury Centre for Genetic Epidemiology and Statistics, a joint centre between LSHTM, UCL and Birkbeck for sharing expertise in genomics research.

Supervisors: Dr Yalda Jamshidi (SGUL) and Prof Frank Dudbridge (LSHTM)

Requirements: MSc in an area such as epidemiology, statistics, bioinformatics or genomics would be highly desirable.

 

Studentship Routes
Generally, awards will be made for 3.5 years. The additional 6 months on top of the standard +3 award will provide students with opportunities to gain new skills to allow them to undertake multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary research and to undertake a required 3 month placement outside of the partnership. 

1+3 year awards may be made to exceptional candidates to allow the successful candidates to undertake a full MSc course in a relevant area at either institution prior to starting their PhD research. 

Research Areas & Projects
Prospective students will apply to carry out their PhD research on a particular project which they will select from a list of projects put forward by potential supervisors. Projects will fall under at least one of the overarching themes of the DTP and provide training in at least one of the MRC core skills areas.A number of projects on the list will facilitate research collaboration between the two institutions.

Funding
MRC DTP Studentships cover

- Full fees at the UK/EU fee rate

- Annual stipend of GBP 16,052.00 (2015-16 RCUK rate)

- GBP 5,000.00 per year RTSG (research training and support grant)

- GBP 300.00 per year travel and conference allowance

for the duration of the award. Additional funding is available for students to undertake fieldwork, other training, and their 3 month placement.

Eligibility
These studentships will be open to UK/EU applicants who meet the MRC's residency requirements. EU applicants who do not meet the MRC residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award.

How to Apply
Studentship applications are now open. You will find this project amongst the list of available projects for a September 2016 start.

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