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PhD recruitment:
I am currently offering a project on the epigenetic clock in wild mice.

The ecology of ageing: a biomarker of age for the wood mouse Apodemus sylvaticus

Supervisors: Tom Little (IEB, tom.little@ed.ac.uk), Amy Pedersen (IEB)

Background: Wild animals do not carry birth certificates. But If we could accurately estimate age in the wild, we could also begin to ask what causes age to accelerate, and what causes whole populations to be stressed, ageing rapidly and at risk of extinction? Recently, medical science has developed an epigenetic clock based on DNA methylation, and it is a highly accurate biomarker of age that can be used to predict mortality or determine if individuals have aged faster than their chronological age suggests.

This project will deploy a DNA methylation clock for the wood mouse
Apodemus sylvaticus to address a set of fundamental questions about the biology of ageing, such as: ‘What is the cost, in terms of age acceleration, of living in the wild? What is the cost of nutritional deficiency? What is the cost of infection? Of coinfection? Of treatment? Of vaccination?’

The wood mouse system models the human world more closely than laboratory mice can because we measure the complex environment, including >30 naturally infecting parasites and pathogens, social interactions, seasonality, neighbours, reproductive patterns and nutritional status. We conduct longitudinal sampling of hundreds of mice across their entire lifespan without expensive animal husbandry, as well as perform placebo-controlled treatments that are not feasible in humans. Thus, a wild mouse epigenetic clock stands to shed light on the common and natural drivers of ageing.

Our lab is integrated with the following PhD programs, among others:

E4
Hosts, Pathogens and Global Health
EastBio

The best first step is to
email me the following: (1) your CV, including the contact details of two referees who can comment on you (2) a one page statement of your research interests, including a description of research you have been involved with, and research you would like to do. You will then need to apply through one of the programs above.

Further details of the application process are available
here




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