Chromatin Regulator KAT6B and its Role in gene expression and DNA binding

 Project summary

SCIENTIFIC CASE: KAT6A and KAT6B are human genes encoding homologous multidomain proteins that regulate gene transcription in stem cells and during development. In addition to a lysine acetyltransferase domain, these chromatin regulators harbour domains that function as readers of histone modifications and in sequence-specific DNA binding (Dreveny et al., Nuc Acids Res 2014, 42:822-835). The project will study a novel domain in the KAT6B to determine its structure in complex with DNA. We will also perform assays in cells or in vitro to study how KAT6A/KAT6B are specifically recruited to gene regulatory regions to integrate development and cell metabolism. This research will shed light on the role of these proteins in KAT6 syndromes (recently identified neurodevelopmental disorders) and in promoting growth of cancers such as acute myeloid leukemia.

The supervision/advisor team will consist of Prof. David Heery & Dr Hilary Collins (University of Nottingham) with Dr Ralf Flaig & Dr Marco Mazzorana (Diamond Light Source) with monthly teams meetings to monitor progress. At Nottingham, the student will work within the Gene Regulation & RNA Biology labs, School of Pharmacy working with doctoral and postdoctoral  scientists with expertise in protein purification & expression, protein interactions, CRISPR CAS9 editing, RNA Seq, cell assays, epigenetic regulators and gene expression. At DLS/RCaH training by Drs Flaig, Mazzorana and colleagues will include protein purification /crystallisation, structure determination, biophysical studies of protein complexes (bioSAXS, crystallography, cryoEM). Both partners offer excellent training and research facilities, with well-developed PGR support and mentoring systems.

 Our doctoral students receive a broad a range of training including health & safety, EDI-focussed sessions, participation in DTP Spring Conferences, School and Divisional seminar programs) as well as a bespoke program of generic and discipline-specific courses/ training. Participation in outreach activities is encouraged with opportunities to communicate research also to both specialist and non-scientific audiences.

 We would welcome applications from motivated candidates with a background in life sciences, in particular cell and molecular biology and related techniques.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to or

To apply and check your eligibility, please click go to and you can find further information about how to apply to our programme.

Home and international students are welcome to apply for this opportunity. Funding is available for four years from late September 2023. The award covers tuition fee (£4,596) at the home rate plus an annual stipend which was (£17,668) for 2022. This is set by the Research Councils. Please note that successful international candidates will be put forward for a University Fees Difference Scholarship to cover the difference between the home and international fee.

Apply online here by noon on Tuesday 17th January 2023.





Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Doctoral Training Programme

The University of Nottingham
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Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 8466946