Exit Menu

The effect on genome behaviour of growing cells in 3D matricies

There has been a small amount of evidence in the literature that growing cells in 3D scaffolds instead of 2D monolayers alters genome behaviour and organisation such that nuclear structure is altered and consequently chromosome behaviour. Understanding such changes i.e. chromosome and gene position, nuclear structure organisation and function, chromatin movement and chromatin modification (epigenome) will provide greatly needed data to the cell biology field on whether to change their cell culture habits.

The project will involve growing young and aged cells in different 3D matricies to ask whether chromosome and gene position is altered, is the epigenome and the transcriptome affected and what happens to nuclear structures that anchor and influence chromosomes such as nucleoli, nuclear lamins, the LINC complex, the nucleoskeleton and how genes and chromosomes are moved after external stimuli such as changes to temperature and availability of nutrients. A range of techniques will be used such as super-resolution bioimaging, real-time imaging, fluorescence in situ hybridisation, real-time PCR, chromatin immuno-precipitation and sequencing.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.


Dr Joanna Bridger - I have been at Brunel University London since the start of this century. This is when I established my own independent laboratory - The Laboratory of Nuclear and Genomic Health. Our research concerns how the genome is spatially organised, influenced and manipulated within its environment, the cell nucleus. The group has had a number of major advances and is currently focused on aspects of genome behaviour in replicative senescence, the premature ageing disease Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, host:pathogen interactions and female cancers. We are wish to understand how structures such as the nuclear lamina, nucleoskeleton and nuclear motors influence the functionality of the genome. I also teach Cell Biology at levels 2 and 3, Developmental Biology at level 2, Gene Expression and Epigenetics and Cellular and Organismal Ageing at Masters level. The lab is always full of PhD, Masters and undergraduate students doing their various projects.  I am also the Head of the Genome Engineering and Maintenance network established from the depth and interest in Genome Biology that has developed over time in Biosciences at Brunel. My other role is External Engagement where I organise all the external interactions we have in our division