Skip to main content
School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Genome-wide functional analyses of the conserved centromere protein CENP-C

We are seeking applicants for the following PhD opportunity. The successful applicant will join a student cohort in Environment, Biodiversity and Genomics, training together, following an exciting programme designed to inspire the next generation of environmental experts, managers and leaders. They will be equipped to address some of the toughest challenges of our time.

Research environment

The School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences at Queen Mary is one of the UK’s elite research centres, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). We offer a multi-disciplinary research environment and have approximately 150 PhD students working on projects in the biological and psychological sciences. Our students have access to a variety of research facilities supported by experienced staff, as well as a range of student support services.

We are home to a number of research groups with core interests in chromosome biology, cell division and epigenetics, and house state-of-the-art equipment for genomics, cell, molecular and structural biology. Dr. Subramanian's group offers a young, vibrant and well-funded research environment, with opportunities for networking both within and outside the institution. Interested candidates are welcome to contact Dr. Subramanian at 

Training and development

Our PhD students become part of Queen Mary’s Doctoral College which provides training and development opportunities, advice on funding, and financial support for research. Our students also have access to a Researcher Development Programme designed to help recognise and develop key skills and attributes needed to effectively manage research, and to prepare and plan for the next stages of their career.

Through the course of the project, the student will gain expertise in genetics, genomics, biochemistry, cell & molecular biology techniques and super-resolution microscopy. He/she will have the opportunity to actively collaborate in projects within and outside the research group, both at a national and international level. Opportunities to develop other skills essential for career progression including but not limited to time management, project management, presentation skills and preparation of research articles, will also be offered.

Project description

CENP-C is a highly conserved centromere protein required for kinetochore function and chromosome segregation, as it is integral to the structure and function of the kinetochore. Errors in chromosome segregation through misregulated centromere protein function can lead to uncontrolled cell division and consequent development of cancer. CENP-C is an essential protein in most model eukaryotes (including humans), thus analyses of CENP-C function have remained difficult as the gene encoding the CENP-C protein cannot be deleted from the genome.

In the fission yeast S. pombe however, CENP-C is not an essential gene. Upon deletion of CENP-C, cell fitness in S. pombe drops dramatically, however cells remain viable (Tanaka et al Dev Cell 2009, Chik et al J Biol Chem 2019). This PhD project will involve genome-wide analyses to dissect genetic pathways that contribute to CENP-C function in S. pombe. Biochemistry, cell biology and molecular biology approaches will be employed to validate findings in three different model organisms – fission yeast, budding yeast S. cerevisiae (in collaboration with Dr. P Thorpe, SBBS), and human cells (in collaboration with Prof. V Draviam, SBBS).

Findings from the project will make a step change in the field, as the student will be able to systematically validate results from three different model systems in parallel. Our studies will allow for identification of potential new drug targets that might abrogate uncontrolled cell division in cancerous cell lines where CENP-C function might be misregulated.


This studentship is open to students applying for China Scholarship Council funding. Queen Mary University of London has partnered with the China Scholarship Council (CSC) to offer a joint scholarship programme to enable Chinese students to study for a PhD programme at Queen Mary. Under the scheme, Queen Mary will provide scholarships to cover all tuition fees, whilst the CSC will provide living expenses for 4 years and one return flight ticket to successful applicants. 

Eligibility and applying

Applicants must:

  • Be Chinese students with a strong academic background.
  • Students must hold a PR Chinese passport.
  • Applicants can either be resident in China at the time of application or studying overseas. 
  • Students with prior experience of studying overseas (including in the UK) are eligible to apply. Chinese QMUL graduates/Masters’ students are therefore eligible for the scheme.

Please refer to the CSC website for full details on eligibility and conditions on the scholarship.

Applications are invited from outstanding candidates with or expecting to receive a first or upper-second class honours degree and/or a masters degree in an area relevant to the project e.g., biochemistry, molecular/cell biology, molecular genetics. Excellent communication and organisational skills are essential. Prior research experience in areas relevant to the project is highly desirable.

Applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language ability. Please see our English language requirements page for details.

The deadline for applications to Queen Mary is 30th January 2022. Applicants will need to complete an online application form by this date to be considered, including a CV, personal statement and qualifications. Shortlisted applicants will be invited for a formal interview by the project supervisor. Those who are successful in their application for our PhD programme will be issued with an offer letter which is conditional on securing a CSC scholarship (as well as any academic conditions still required to meet our entry requirements).

Once applicants have obtained their offer letter from Queen Mary they should then apply to CSC for the scholarship by the advertised deadline with the support of the project supervisor. For September 2022 entry, applicants must complete the CSC application on the CSC website between 10th March - 31st March 2022.

Only applicants who are successful in their application to CSC can be issued an unconditional offer and enrol on our PhD programme.

Apply Online

Back to top