PhD Position at Queen’s University, Belfast

Funded PhD position at Queen’s University, Belfast – RNA transport in the context angiogenesis: deciphering mechanisms of RNA localisation to understand blood vessel growth.


Angiogenesis, or the emergence of new blood vessels, is a complex biological process that involves the coordinated migration of endothelial cells. Critical guidance cues secreted by the surrounding tissues regulate the molecular and cellular responses triggered during angiogenesis. Although the subcellular localisation of RNAs is a well-established mechanism underpinning cell migration, how RNAs are targeted to particular cell compartments in motile endothelial cells during blood vessel formation is not known.

This PhD project aims to 1) explore the role of RNA binding proteins (RBPs) present at the leading edge of endothelial cells and 2) shed light on the signalling machinery that modulates RBP targeting in the context of angiogenesis. The localised activity of RBPs at the endothelial cell front will be studied using in vitro models of angiogenesis to demonstrate the relevance of RNA localisation in sprouting vessels. In addition, how the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor signalling pathway may stimulate RBP localisation during vessel guidance and growth will also be investigated. Altogether, the studies proposed in this project will contribute to further understanding of mechanisms of blood vessel formation and provide a novel avenue in the pursuit for angiogenesis-related therapies.

The desired candidate will have experience in routine cell culture and molecular biology techniques. The start date of the position is September 2020 and funding is available for 3 years. Application deadline: 20 January 2020.

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