Detecting dysfunction in the single-cell gene networks underlying Parkinson’s disease
This research project is in competition for funding with one or more projects available through the UK Dementia Research Institute (DRI) at Cardiff. Usually the projects which receive the best applicants will be awarded the funding. Find out more information about the UK DRI and how to apply.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and results from the selective loss of dopaminergic neurons within the Substantia nigra pars compacta.
Across a range of modalities, a wealth of molecular data has been generated including a large number of single cell studies of dopaminergic neurons, both from stem cell (iPSC) models and post-mortem nigral tissue. A substantial proportion of this single cell data resides within the Webber group through their bioinformatics role in multiple PD consortia and collaborations.
Each single cell gene expression profile offers a snapshot of a transcriptional programme of a dopaminergic neuron either in health or disease. By bioinformatically ordering these cellular snapshots, we can recapitulate the dynamics of the whole gene expression programme.
We will exploit this data to deduce the gene regulatory wiring of a dopaminergic neuron, determine how this network is altered due to genetic and environmental perturbations associated with Parkinson’s disease, and then test our predictions within existing cellular models within the lab.
A minimum of a 2.1 or master's in a relevant degree subject is required. Relevant degree subjects include:
- biological sciences
- molecular biology/genetics
- computer science
Candidates with a biological science background would need to demonstrate a keen interest/capability with computational approaches, while those from a computational or mathematical background would need to demonstrate an interest in biological systems and applications.