Safer gene editing tools in human stem cell models

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 – Professor Ernst

Current CRISPR-Cas9 assisted genome editing tools are powerful, but suffer from unwanted on- and off-target mutagenesis. We have developed a novel genome editing platform (termed CAST) that virtually eliminates mutagenesis, yet has comparable efficiency to normal Cas9. In this project we wish to assess the ability of this tool to genetically modify various human stem cells and investigate the role of local epigenome modulation in this process. The overarching goal of this project is to enable safe and efficient genome modification in cell types that will ultimately be used for regenerative medicine approaches and thus has great commercial and health implications. Specific project aims could be understanding and leveraging the modular nature of our system to modify specific gene loci and optimisation of the cellular specificity and efficacy. Others may be more specific genetic disease associated applications.

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 molecular biology, stem cells and genomics would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of molecular biology, stem cell culture, and knowledge of sequencing techmnology and bioinformatics analyses and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of bioinformatics is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2022. 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.

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