University of Sussex - PhD Genome Stability

School of Life Sciences - PhD Studentship in Genome Stability (2020)

A PhD studentship (42 months) is available from 1st September, 2020 under the supervision of Prof. Aidan Doherty, Genome Damage & Stability Centre, School of Life Sciences.

Type of award

Postgraduate Research

PhD project

How does PrimPol restart stalled DNA replication in human cells?

DNA damage tolerance pathways allow efficient bypass of lesions and structures that block genome replication, enabling cells to survive major genotoxic stress thus maintaining genomic integrity. Mutations in such pathways are associated with ageing and major human diseases, including cancer.

Aims: A novel enzyme called PrimPol has recently been implicated in restarting stalled replication forks in vertebrate cells. This PhD project will investigate the specific roles played by PrimPol in DNA replication processes and determine how, in conjunction with other factors, it maintains efficient genome duplication in human cells. This multi-disciplinary project will involve the use of cellular and molecular approaches to identify how PrimPol promotes efficient chromosomal replication in vivo. The student will define PrimPol’s overlapping functions with other damage tolerance pathways, study the cellular consequences of deregulating its activities in cells and relate these insights to diseases associated with genome instability, e.g. cancer.

The successful applicant will join the Genome Damage and Stability Centre, an internationally renowned Institute carrying out research on the response of cells to DNA damage and genome instability. We provide a stimulating and supportive research and training environment. Our expertise covers a wide range of experimental systems. Further information about our research can be obtained from our website at


Bailey, L.J., Bianchi, J. & Doherty, A.J. (2019) Nucleic Acids Res 47,4026-4038

Bianchi, J. et al.  (2013) Mol Cell 52, 566-573.

Guilliam, T.A. & Doherty, A.J. (2017)Genes, 8, 20.


This School funded position covers Home / EU tuition fees and a stipend at standard RCUK rates - currently £15,285 for 20/21.


This School funded position, which covers fees and a stipend at standard RCUK rates, is open to Home / EU applicants. Ideal candidates will have a strong background in cell biology, biochemistry and molecular biology. Eligible applicants will have recently received an MSc and/or a First or high 2:1 BSc in a relevant subject. Candidates for whom English is not their first language will require an IELTS score of 6.5 overall, with not less than 6.0 in any section.


3 April 2020 23:45 (GMT)

How to apply

Please submit a formal application using our online application system at  including a CV, degree transcripts and certificates, statement of interest and names of two academic referees.

On the application system use Programme of Study – PhD in Genome Stability.

Please make sure you include the project title under Funding Information and input the Supervisor’s name.


Contact us

Contact Emma Chorley ( for application enquiries.

Contact Prof. Aidan Doherty ( for enquiries about the project


At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
3 April 2020 23:45 (GMT)
the deadline has now expired


The award is available to people from these specific countries: