PhD Studentship available


Investigating the role of phase separation in enhancer-dependent gene regulation

BBSRC DTP White Rose Studentship: 2019 entry

The project

Phase separation has recently emerged as one of the most exciting and fast-moving areas of biology. Phase separated condensates are membraneless organelles containing high densities of proteins and nucleic acids. They exist in a separate phase to the surrounding cellular environment, providing a method to compartmentalize and concentrate biochemical reactions in the nucleus. Recent evidence has pointed to a role for phase separated condensates as regulators of highly active enhancers. Enhancers are regulatory DNA sequences that control when, and in what tissue, particular genes are turned on and off. The Bose Lab studies how enhancer RNAs (eRNAs), non-coding RNAs transcribed from enhancers across the genome, can activate gene expression.

The successful PhD candidate will join our newly established, multidisciplinary research group as the part of the Sheffield Institute for Nucleic Acids (SInFoNiA) and Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Sheffield. In this project, we want to understand how phase separation affects the activity of the eRNAs and epigenetic enzymes responsible for enhancer function.

You will be part of an exciting, highly collaborative and dynamic research environment with extensive interactions and support from biologists, chemists, biophysicists and structural biologists. You will learn cutting edge approaches including next-generation sequencing, non-coding RNA biology, single molecule FRET and biochemical approaches to study chromatin modifications. The work will provide a new understanding of one of the most relevant questions in biology and will have broad ranging outcomes, from understanding human diseases to improving biotechnology.

Apply online

Application Deadline: January 7th 2019

Funding Notes

4 year BBSRC studentship, under the BBSRC White Rose Mechanistic Biology DTP.

Studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements. Further information on eligibility’s available here.


You should have or expect to achieve a first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject, or equivalent. The interdisciplinary nature of this programme means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any biological, chemical, and/or physical science, or students with mathematical backgrounds who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological questions.

Scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis - applications are assessed on the basis of academic success and qualifications, experience, research background and a clear and well-articulated reason for being considered.

Studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.


Bose Lab group webpage

Postgraduate Study at The University of Sheffield

Further Reading

Plys, A.J., and Kingston, R.E. (2018). Dynamic condensates activate transcription. Science 361, 329–330. (View)

Bose, D.A., Donahue, G., Reinberg, D., Shiekhattar, R., Bonasio, R., and Berger, S.L. (2017). RNA Binding to CBP Stimulates Histone Acetylation and Transcription. Cell 168, 135–149.e22. (View)

Nott, T.J., Craggs, T.D., and Baldwin, A.J. (2016). Membraneless organelles can melt nucleic acid duplexes and act as biomolecular filters. Nat Chem 8, 569–575. (View)

Hahn, S. (2018). Phase Separation, Protein Disorder, and Enhancer Function. 175, 1723–1725. (View)

Apply online

Application Deadline: January 7th 2019