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A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


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Academic background
Health Sciences
Host campus
Dr Chun Shen Lim, Associate Professor Chris M Brown


We are seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate to join an interdisciplinary research team at the University of Otago, investigating a new mechanism in regulating gene expression. Scholarships are available through the University of Otago.

About the project

The regulation of gene expression is critical for the normal cellular function and the development of multicellular eukaryotes. We have recently found an undescribed mechanism that regulates gene expression, through splicing and translation that occur at the 5′ untranslated regions of messenger RNAs. This links splicing and translation, key sequential cellular processes that occur in two separate cellular compartments. We estimate that about 30 per cent of messenger RNAs are regulated by this new mechanism. We propose that such messenger RNAs can be translated to build two or more different peptides or proteins, due to an alternative type of translation on the 5′ 'untranslated' regions.

This research will use a combination of new computational and laboratory techniques to understand how this new regulatory mechanism works using human and plant systems. This project is supported by a Marsden Fast-Start grant (2022-2024) and a University of Otago Research Grant (2022) with Dr Chun Shen Lim as Principal Investigator.

Applicant attributes

The successful applicant will have a BSc(Hons) degree or an MSc degree in fields including, but not limited to, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Genetics or Bioinformatics. The applicants must meet the criteria for enrolment in the PhD programme at the University of Otago.

Scholarship details

The successful applicant will receive a stipend of NZ$28,600 per annum, in addition to tuition fees. The tenure of the PhD scholarship is 3 years.

How to apply

Applications should include a full CV, an academic transcript, and the names and contact details of at least two referees. Applications should be sent by email to:

Dr Chun Shen Lim

Associate Professor Dr Chris M Brown


Chun Shen Lim

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