Are you an aspiring researcher with an interest in embryonic development? And are you eager to understand how individual cells in the early mammalian embryo decide their future fate using computational approaches? Then join the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences as a PhD candidate!
The early mammalian embryo, or epiblast, is composed of pluripotent cells that can generate all specialised cell types of the body. The epiblast cell population is heterogeneous, showing stochastic differences in transcriptome and epigenome between cells that affect their differentiation potential. In this project, you will address how a system composed of intrinsically stochastic epiblast cells can show robust and deterministic fate decisions, utilising single-cell genomic/epigenomic datasets from in vitro developing mouse gastruloids that will be generated within the consortium. You will apply state-of-the-art genetic/epigenetic computational approaches, integrative -omics, cellular trajectory analysis, agent-based modelling and other types of predictive modelling, supported by our in-house computational biology unit.
At the Molecular Biology department, you will be part of the Stem Cell group focusing on the unique regulatory mechanisms acting in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) to maintain their pluripotent state and prepare for gastrulation. More information on our research can be found in our recent publications in Nature Cell Biology (2022; PMID: 35697783), Cell Stem Cell (2019; PMID: 30472157), and Trends in Cell Biology (2019; PMID: 31178244), and online: Hendrik Marks
. The project is embedded within an ambitious and interactive research environment, both in the department and in the NWO-ENW-XL consortium. There are ample opportunities for collaboration in and outside the Netherlands, including a long-term international research visit. As part of the PhD training, you will take part in our medical biology educational programme, assisting in one or two courses per year and supervise BSc and MSc students within the context of your project.