PhD School

Warsaw PhD School of Natural and BioMedical Sciences [Warsaw-4-PhD] was established on May 16, 2019. The Doctoral School commences its activity on October 1, 2019. The School will educate doctoral students in four scientific disciplines: biology, chemistry, physics and medicine.

The School is operated by nine research institutions:

- Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology PAS (leader of the School);

- Institute of Organic Chemistry PAS;

- Institute of Physical Chemistry PAS;

- Institute of Physics PAS;

- Center for Theoretical Physics PAS;

- Institute of High Pressure Physics PAS;

- Maria Sklodowska-Curie Institute - Oncology Center;

- Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology;

- International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw.

IIMCB project in the current recruitment process:

Title: Identification of novel long noncoding RNAs in zebrafish

Supervisor: Cecilia Winata & Barbara Uszczyńska-Ratajczak

Institute: International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw

Unit: Zebrafish Developmental Genomics

WWW of the unit: http://zdglab.iimcb.gov.pl/


To understand how genetic instructions are encrypted in genomes is a fundamental goal of biology and a major interest of biomedical research. The majority of vertebrate protein-coding genes have been well described. However, non-coding regions, the so-called “dark matter” of DNA remain uncharacterized, even for the human genome. Vertebrate genomes, including mammals produce RNA transcripts longer than 200 nucleotides that share many features with mRNAs but do not encode any proteins. These are called long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) and are the most numerous class among the non-coding elements in the genome. LncRNAs have been proven to be involved in crucial biological processes, including regulation of cell differentiation and embryogenesis. Recently, a growing number of lncRNAs have also been functionally associated with various human diseases, including cancer. However, their biological roles remain unexplored with just a small fraction (~2% of identified loci out of ~19,000) of human lncRNAs being experimentally characterized. Understanding better which lncRNAs are functional and how this function is encoded in the primary RNA sequence is of major relevance to human biology and disease. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a promising model organism for studying lncRNA-related human disease. However, lncRNA annotations for zebrafish lag far behind that of human or mouse. This severely hampers the discovery of mammalian lncRNA counterparts in zebrafish and their characterization.

Aim of the project:

We would like to understand which lncRNAs are functional and how those functions are kept in the genome. We plan: (1) to build high-quality lncRNA annotation from a panel of biomedically relevant adult and embryonic tissues in zebrafish; (2) identify functional lncRNAs in these tissue types based on evolutionary conservation across human, mouse, and zebrafish; and (3) to perform functional studies of selected lncRNA candidates through in vivo loss of function assay in zebrafish embryos.


The ideal candidate must hold a Master degree in biology or biochemistry, or related subjects and should have previous laboratory experience in basic molecular biology and/or biochemistry techniques. Prior experience in working with animal models (mouse or zebrafish) would be an advantage. The candidate should be able to communicate fluently in English. We offer the chance to work in a team of young and friendly scientists with interests in genomics and developmental biology.


Please apply through the recruitment portal available here: https://warsaw4phd.eu/register.php