PhD Studentship (Vicky Cowling)
Application closing date
All tuition fees will be paid.
RNA cap regulation in T cell function in cancer
T cells are one of our most effective defences against infection and cancer. On encountering viruses or cancer cells, T cells are activated, proliferate rapidly and differentiate into potent effectors cells which target infected and cancer cells for neutralisation using several strategies. When activated, T cells undergo major changes in gene expression to synthesise the proteins required to produce these rapidly proliferating effectors cells.
We study how a potent structure in gene expression, the RNA cap, is regulated in response to T cell activation and the impact on gene regulation, cell proliferation and effector functions. The RNA cap is critical for gene expression; it is added to RNA pol II transcripts (mRNA, miRNA, lncRNA etc) to recruit factors involved in transcription, RNA processing and translation. We are interested in the roles that the different capping enzymes play in T cells in the response to cancer and infection. If we can understand the impact of the capping enzymes on gene expression and T cell function during viral infection and in cancer, we may be able to target these enzymes in therapeutic scenarios.
The project will study how the RNA capping enzymes activity and gene specificity are regulated during T cell activation. We collaborate with Ed Roberts to investigate the impact of targeting the RNA capping enzymes in the latest viral infection and cancer models. We investigate capping enzymes gene specificity and activity using advanced RNA/DNA sequencing technologies, protein biochemistry and mass spectrometry.
For informal enquiries or further details on the project, please email Prof Vicky Cowling ([email protected]).