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Inducing the reversal of cellular ageing in model cell systems

As normal cells age they can only go through a finite number of cell divisions. Once they have achieved this they become irreversibly growth arrested known as replicative senescence. The transcriptome and epigenome are altered in senescent cells, as is the nuclear organisation and function. Can these mechanisms and structures be interfered with to work towards reversing
senescence and inducing cells to re-enter the proliferative cell cycle?

Initially the candidate will study differences between different types of growth arrest i.e. quiescence, stress induced premature senescence and replicative senescence using super-resolution bioimaging, chromatin analysis, transcriptome and genome behaviour. Senescent cells will be induced to replicate again by altering their access to specific factors – these replicating senescent cells will also be compared to the other arrested cells. Strategies will be developed to push these cells further to enter mitosis and divide.

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