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Effects on the genome of new treatments for the premature ageing disease Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome

HGPS is a premature ageing syndrome that affects children leading to their premature death in their teens through heart attacks and strokes. There have been a few drugs that have been given to the children through clinical trials and more planned. However, not very much is known about how these drugs affect the genome biology. We have investigated some of the drugs in use for the treatment of progeria and have mixed effects on the genome of these drugs. It is obvious that some new better treatments are required. 

The project will involve the testing of newly proposed drugs on genome behaviour in HGPS cells. These assays will include chromosome positioning, gene and chromosome movement, genomic instability, the epigenome, association with specific structures and transcription profiles. A range of techniques will be used such as super-resolution bioimaging, fluorescence in situ hybridisation, real-time PCR, chromatin immuno-precipitation and sequencing. Furthermore, you will be part of a team working on new treatments using state-of-the-art applications involving nanotechnology and gene therapy that will also form part
of your PhD thesis.

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