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The role of nuclear motor proteins in chromatin dynamics

Our laboratory has been working on active and rapid gene and chromosome movement with interphase nuclei using gene or chromosome positioning assays via bio-imaging, data analysis and live imaging. We have identified a nuclear motor mechanism that is involved in this active and directional movement containing motor proteins, such as actin and myosins, that form functional complexes. These proteins and complexes are responsible for taking genes and chromosomes to new non-random locations and structures involved in gene expression or silencing. This project would investigate the mechanism of gene/chromosome movement within cells by interfering with the ability of these proteins to build these complexes using specific drugs and genomic engineering. The project will then combine cell culture, fluorescence in situ hybridisation, 3D and 4D imaging and analysis, assessing the epigenetic status of chromatin being relocated with ChIP-seq and CRISPR/cas9 genomic engineering.


  • Rapid chromosome territory relocation by nuclear motor activity in response to serum removal in primary human fibroblasts. Mehta IS, Amira M, Harvey AJ, Bridger JM. Genome Biol. 2010 Jan 13;11(1):R5. doi: 10.1186/gb-2010-11-1-r5.
  • Chromobility: the rapid movement of chromosomes in interphase nuclei. Bridger JM. Biochem Soc Trans. 2011 Dec;39(6):1747-51. doi: 10.1042/BST20110696.

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%.

Meet the Supervisor(s)

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