student profile: Miss Rachel Woodhouse


Thesis work

Thesis title: Investigating the mechanisms of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in Caenorhabditis elegans

Supervisors: Hannah NICHOLAS , Alyson ASHE

Thesis abstract:

Mounting evidence in a number of organisms suggests that some epigenetic modifications acquired by an individual during its lifetime can be inherited for multiple future generations. This phenomenon is termed transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, and may provide a mechanism for the inheritance of environmentally acquired traits. This project aims to characterise the mechanisms of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans.

RNA interference can induce heritable silencing in C. elegans. This project uses a paradigm developed by the Ashe Laboratory in which RNAi-induced silencing of a GFP transgene is robustly inherited for multiple generations in the absence of the initial RNAi trigger. Using this paradigm, I will identify genes that are required for epigenetic inheritance. I will investigate the roles of these genes and interactions between them using multiple techniques including CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing, fluorescent microscopy, mass spectrometry, chromatin immunoprecipitation, high-throughput sequencing and behavioural analyses, in order to elucidate the mechanism of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.

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