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Cambridge Biosciences DTP PhD Programme


Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

Research theme: Bioscience for an integrated understanding of health


I decided to undertake an undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Bath after reading “The Epigenetics Revolution” by Nessa Carey (I’ve since had this copy of the book signed!). Having a broad interest in both Evolution and Developmental Genetics and unsure which interest to focus my academic studies on, I decided to volunteer as a research assistant in an evolutionary focused lab whilst working at a local primary school. I then decided to undertake an MPhil at the University of Cambridge in Translational Biomedical Research, and this solidified my passion for the study of Genetics for health. In my spare time I like to read, play chess, and practice the flute and piano. I also like to go on long nature walks, especially to places where fossils can be found.


Project Title:

Super-Resolution Imaging of Chromatin and Nuclear Architecture

Project Summary:

The genome is organised in a complex three-dimensional structure within the nucleus, but many questions remain about the functional significance of this organisation. Using super-resolution microscopy, the structure of chromatin and its association with gene regulation can be visualised and studied directly. However, Imaging chromatin in vivo is challenging due to the nature of the densely packed nucleus. Primary spermatocytes of Drosophila melanogaster provide numerous advantages for studying chromatin at super-resolution. After undergoing four consecutive rounds of mitotic divisions, the spermatocytes maintain cellular bridges and enter a long G2 phase, resulting in comparatively large nuclei (more than a 20-fold increase in volume), with less densely packaged chromatin.

Primary spermatocytes nuclei also contain Y loops. The Y loops are transcriptionally active, single chromatin fibres of the Y chromosome that are easy to visualise because they extend into the interior of the nucleus – providing an ideal model to visualise active chromatin organisation. Investigating the structure of active chromatin has important functional implications. Many chromatin modifications that are important for gene regulation such as methylation and acetylation are thought to work at least in part by physically condensing chromatin and blocking access to transcription machinery, or opening up chromatin structure and therefore promoting binding of transcription factors, and RNA polymerase. 

Teaching and Supervisions

Research supervision: 

Dr Rob White

Staff Photo

Contact Details

Job Titles

PhD Student