Jumping Genes in Mammalian Development

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Supervisor – Dr Sandra Richardsonsandra.richardson@mater.uq.edu.au

Our lab studies the biology of L1 retrotransposons, often referred to as  jumping genes. These DNA sequences have the ability to copy-and-paste themselves from one location in the genome to another in a process called retrotransposition. Retrotransposition events are mutagenic, with the potential to disrupt the function of critical genes and cause genome instability.

 L1 retrotransposons are selfish elements and must make new copies in cells that will contribute to the next generation. In mammals, opportunities for heritable L1 retrotransposition include the cells of the early embryo and the cells of the developing germline. L1 activity in these developmental niches threatens transmission of a stable germline genome and can result in genetic disease and potentially cell death, but also represents a source of new genetic diversity.

This project aims to illuminate the spectrum of impacts resulting from L1 retrotransposition in the germ line and early embryo, from infertility and pregnancy loss to congenital anomalies and genetic disease, as well as more subtle impacts on gene regulation and structural variation. The mechanisms by which L1 activity is controlled by embryonic and germ cells will also be investigated. The student leading this project will have the opportunity to work with single-cell genomics techniques, mouse and cell culture models, and human patient samples.

 The successful applicant will be supervised by Dr Sandra Richardson (Mater Research Institute) and Prof Geoff Faulkner (Mater Research Institute/QBI).

Preferred educational background

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of genetics, genomics, and molecular biology techniques; microscopy, flow cytometry, mouse handling and dissection would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of molecular genetics, genomics and the potential for scholastic success.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2023. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Apply now