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Genome behaviour in cellular senescence generated by different pathways

Cells entering senescence in our bodies is responsible for age related degeneration, diseases and illnesses, as well as a reduced life-span. Studies of senescence in culture requires primary cells that are induced to enter cellular senescence. However, we hypothesis that these methods using oncogenes, stress and enforced cell divisions do not give equivalent senescent states especially when assessing genome behaviour. Thus, this PhD project will compare chromosome and gene behaviour in the different types of senescence with assays that look at genome organisation - fluorescence in situ hybridisation and bio-imaging and analysis, chromosome conformation capture, epigenetics using chromatin immunoprecipitation and sequencing, gene expression via RNA seq and quantitative PCR and bioinformatics and the ability of new senotherapeutic drugs to rejuvenate senescent cells and repair any alterations to genome function in senescent cells.

  • Mehta et al., Interphase Chromosomes in Replicative Senescence: chromosome positioning as a senescence biomarker and the lack of nuclear motor-driven chromosome repositioning in senescent cells. (2021). Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology In press
  • Senescence and the Genome (2021). Foster and Bridger. In Human Interphase Chromosomes. Edited Ivan IourovSvetlana VorsanovaYuri Yurov

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

Dr Kazunori Tomita - Research theme: - Telomere biology and chromosome maintenance Career: - 2019-           Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences, Department of Life Sciences 2018-           Honorary Senior Research Associate, UCL Cancer Institute, University College London, UK 2010-2018   Principal Research Fellow, UCL Cancer Institute, University College London, UK 2010-2016   Cancer Research UK Career Development Fellow 2010            Postdoctoral research fellow, Department of Hematology, Imperial College London, UK 2004-2009   Postdoctoral research fellow, Cancer Research UK, London Research Institute, UK 2001-2004   Ph. D. in Environmental Sciences, Shizuoka University, Japan