Skip to main content

Dissecting mechanisms of mRNA translational control by specialised ribosomes


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Monday 6 April 2020
Project start date
Thursday 1 October 2020
Country eligibility
UK and EU
Competition funded
Source of funding
Research council
Dr Julie Aspden and Dr Juan Fontana Jordan De Urries
School of Molecular and Cellular Biology
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The average cell contains ~10 million ribosomes, comprised of ~80 ribosomal proteins and 4 rRNAs. Until recently it was thought that all ribosomes were the same. But substantial new evidence has revealed that ribosome heterogeneity provides an additional level of translational control. These different ribosome populations are termed &lsquo;specialised ribosomes&rsquo;. How these specialised ribosomes translate specific mRNA pools remains a mystery. This project aims to understand how changes in ribosome composition enable translation of specific mRNA pools by altered ribosome structures. We have discovered differences in ribosome composition in Drosophila melanogaster brain and testis (project currently funded by a BBSRC grant). mRNA translation is particularly important during sperm production and neural function so it will be exciting to understand how this novel mechanism of gene regulation is achieved. Using a cutting-edge combination of translatomics and structural biology this project will uncover the function and mechanism of specialised ribosomes. We will determine which mRNAs specialised ribosomes translate using Ribo-Seq (Next Generation Sequencing) and how specialisation is achieved using cryo-EM. These approaches are data intensive and represent priority bioscience skills areas, as both involve large data sets and bioinformatic analysis. This work has potential to shed light on the underlying mechanism of human diseases caused by mutations to ribosomal proteins e.g. Diamond-Blackfan. Hypothesis Specialised ribosomes regulate protein synthesis by targeting translation of specific pools of mRNAs through altered ribosome composition. Objectives 1-Determine protein composition of specialised ribosomes. 2-Structural assessment of specialised ribosomes. 3-Determine translational output of specialised ribosomes. Further further information on Aspden Group: Further information on omics research at Leeds:

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &ldquo;Dissecting mechanisms of mRNA translational control by specialised ribosomes&rdquo; as well as&nbsp;Dr Julie Aspden as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>White Rose BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;4 year fully-funded programme of integrated research and skills training, starting Oct 2020:&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;&bull;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Research Council Stipend&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;&bull;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;UK/EU Tuition Fees&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;&bull;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Conference and research funding&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;Requirements:&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;At least a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent. We welcome students with backgrounds in biological, chemical or physical sciences, or mathematical backgrounds with an interest in biological questions.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;EU candidates require 3 years of UK residency to receive full studentship&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;Not all projects will be funded; the DTP will appoint a limited number of candidates via a competitive process.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;;</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information please contact the Graduate School Office<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href=""></a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 8186</p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>