U Chicago-CNRS Collaboration program : Fully Funded PhD studentship in Montpellier

Stochastic transcriptional bursting in space and time

Project : In order  to generate a functional  organism, cell fate decisions must  be taken  at the  right  place  and  at  the  right  time.  Decades of genetic studies in Drosophila have dissected the  gene  regulatory networks responsible for  the  establishment of  precise patterns  of  gene  expression.  In  certain   cases,  network   architecture  reveals  error correction mechanisms. However,  recent live recent live imaging  studies show  that transcription occurs in a random on/off manner called  “bursts”. The  details  of how transcription factors  control bursting  are  unknown  and  are  the focus  of this proposal. Our project  is concerned with a particular  class of TFs called  pioneer factors,  such  as Zelda. To study  the  impact  of TF pioneer factors  on transcriptional bursting  in single  cells,  we will  employ   quantitative  live  imaging   of  transcription  (MS2/MCP)   combined  to  an innovative  signal  processing approach, able  to position each single  polymerase  initiation event   for  each  nucleus in  vivo.  In  order   to  understand  how  order   emerges   from stochastic local events, both microscopic and  coarse-grained mesoscopic models will be developed. The  micro-meso relationship will be  rigorously  studied in the  framework  of limit theorems for Markov processes.


Techniques: Confocal imaging; Data analysis (image analysis, statistics, programming in R/Matlab or Python); Mathematical modelling (continuous- and discrete-time Markov processes).


Candidate :  Motivation,  perseverance,  rigor,  creativity  and curiosity.  Knowledge  in drosophila   genetics   is  a  plus   but  not  mandatory.   Interest   in  mathematical   and quantitative biology and expertise in programming are mandatory. Required diploma: A research master degree from a University, Engineering School or “Grande Ecole”, in a field relevant to the project (biology, mathematics, physics, engineering). Students with interdisciplinary profile are strongly encouraged to apply. The PhD student will be trained in an interdisciplinary environment and his/her contribution will concern all the aspects of the project: theoretical, mathematical and experimental.


Environment : This project belongs to an interdisciplinary project in collaboration with three labs: Mounia Lagha, Ovidiu Radulescu and John Reinitz. The PhD student will be based in Montpellier and co-supervised by OR and ML but will travel regularly to U Chicago to work with the Reinitz lab, where a second PhD student will be working on a related project. The experiments will be primarily performed in the Lagha lab and the mathematical modelling in the Radulescu  lab. The  student will join  the  I2S  graduate  school .


How to apply : Please send an email containing "[ PhD France-Chicago]" in its subject, with your motivation letter, CV and reference names   to  mounia.lagha@igmm.cnrs.fr and  ovidiu.radulescu@umontpellier.fr.  More details about the project can be found at https://ovidiu-radulescu.yj.fr/ and http://www.laghalab.com/.


Start date :  01/10/2020.


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