Eukaryotic cell growth is tightly regulated by a set of conserved signaling pathways that monitor the extracellular and intracellular environment. In dividing cells, the activity of these pathways needs to be coordinated with the cell division cycle to maintain cellular homeostasis, and disruption of this coordination can lead to a wide range of pathologies. However, we still do not fully understand how these signaling pathways regulate cell cycle progression, even though it has long been known that they exert strong cell cycle control. The project will address this complex question in the model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast) by combining dynamic perturbations of protein abundances in growth-regulatory pathways (TORC1, TORC2, PKA and AMPK) with single-cell time lapse microscopy of cell cycle progression and statistical modeling. Pathway components with the strongest effects on the cell cycle will be singled out for subsequent experiments to uncover cell cycle regulators affected by these components. This work aims to elucidate a largely unexplored aspect of growth signaling, and thus contribute to our understanding of fundamental cellular processes which are ultimately linked with human health.
The Molecular Systems Biology (MSB) group at the University of Groningen (NL) has an opening for a 4-year PhD position. The University of Groningen, located in the north of the Netherlands, enjoys an international reputation as one of the oldest and leading research universities in Europe. The MSB group, part of the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB), aims at generating a systems-level understanding of cellular metabolism (Prof. Matthias Heinemann), growth regulation by signaling pathways (Dr. Andreas Milias-Argeitis) and the regulation of cell division mechanisms (Dr. Julia Kamenz). Towards these goals, the group members combine experimental approaches using state-of-the-art single-cell technologies such as microfluidics and optogenetics, and develop new methods to address the computational challenges that arise. Together, the members of the international and interdisciplinary team (PhD students and postdocs with backgrounds in biology, engineering, physics and mathematics) create an inspiring and highly collaborative research atmosphere. The description for the currently open position is provided below. The project will be supervised by Dr. A. Milias-Argeitis.