Developmental Neurobiology & Genomics Laboratory
Head of laboratory
About 20% of the sequence of the human genome consists of gene deserts, regions with few or no annotated genes. A subclass of these gene deserts flank key developmental regulatory genes, and a substantial number of these regions are conservered across all vertebrate genomes.
Professor Thomas Becker and Dr Silke Rinkwitz manage a team of six students and researchers investigating gene regulatory mechanisms that constitute risk factors in the development of human disease. Through enhancer detection in zebrafish and computational analyses, the team investigates the function of human genomic regions that have been implicated in a number of neurological disorders.
A major focus of the lab is understanding the development of X-linked intellectual disability (XLID), a disability which is associated with characteristic physical and behavioural features, and causes intellectual disabilities ranging from mild to severe. It is the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability and is second only to Down’s syndrome as the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability.
PhD projects available
The Developmental Neurobiology and Genomics laboratory within the Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) at the University of Sydney is offering three PhD projects in the research areas hypothalamic obesity, neurodegeneration (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS), and X-linked intellectual disability. The candidates must be successful in obtaining a primary scholarship such as an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) or University of Sydney Postgraduate Award (UPA). Highly ranked APA/UPA PhD students have further the opportunity to apply for top-up scholarships (USYD Merit Awards, Vice-Chancellor’s Research Scholarships -VCRS). Overseas students are also welcome to apply, provided they have already secured a full living allowance and full tuition fee scholarship.
For further information please contact contact Prof. Thomas Becker () or Dr. Silke Rinkwitz (). For information on on applying for the APA/UPA please visit http://www.usyd.edu.au/ro/training/postgraduate_awards.shtml. Applications for the 2011 Semester 1 APA/UPA will open in late August, the closing date is 29 October 2010.