Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

Molecular characterisation of novel lncRNAs regulating brain development and function

Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) are RNA molecules that do not produce proteins but are fundamental regulators of gene expression, recruiting activators or repressors to target genes. Recent evidence shows that lncRNAs can regulate brain-specific genes and activity. For this project we hypothesise the existence of “master” lncRNAs playing a major role in neurological/neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. 

The objective of this project is to find and characterise novel candidate lncRNAs that potentially control brain development and function. 

To this end, we will use a bioinformatic pipeline to uncover lncRNAs interacting with brain-specific genes and subsequently we aim to characterise their function by means of molecular biology and electrophysiology (patch-clamp). lncRNAs can be novel targets for therapeutic/medical intervention and commercial exploitation.

References

  1. T. C., Morris, K. V. & Wood, M. J. The role of long non-coding RNAs in neurodevelopment, brain function and neurological disease. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences 369, doi:10.1098/rstb.2013.0507 (2014).
  2. Liu, S. J. et al. Single-cell analysis of long non-coding RNAs in the developing human neocortex. Genome biology 17, 67, doi:10.1186/s13059-016-0932-1 (2016).
  3. Sauvageau, M. et al. Multiple knockout mouse models reveal lincRNAs are required for life and brain development. eLife 2, e01749, doi:10.7554/eLife.01749 (2013).

Applications are invited from candidates with at least an upper-second class honours degree or equivalent in an area relevant to the project. Proficient English language skills are essential. Please contact Dr Andrea Cerase (a.cerase@qmul.ac.uk) to apply.