Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

• The role of transcriptional and epigenetic regulators in endothelial and haematopoietic development
• High throughput screening of endothelial and haemogenic-specific cis-regulatory elements in zebrafish
• In vivo modelling of the genetic basis of human disease in zebrafish


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Personal profile


Rui started his research career as an undergraduate, studying Notch target genes in chick embryos at the Instituto de Histologia e Embriologia, University of Lisbon, Portugal. After graduating in 2000, he went on to pursue a PhD in Developmental Biology at the Hubrecht Institute, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. He graduated in 2005, and during this period studied BMP signalling in mouse and in zebrafish. In 2006 he joined Prof Patient’s lab at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford to do research on developmental haematopoiesis. In 2014, he was awarded a BHF Intermediate Basic Science Research Fellowship and became a Principal Investigator at the Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford. He became a University Research Lecturer in 2016. Rui joined the University of Birmingham in 2018 as a Birmingham Fellow.

Research interests

Rui Monteiro is a Birmingham Fellow at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences (ICGS), University of Birmingham. Rui’s group studies the formation of haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in the vertebrate embryo development, using zebrafish as a model system. They are interested in learning how extrinsic signalling and intrinsic transcriptional regulators control lineage fate decisions and thus programme the embryonic endothelium towards an HSC fate, with a particular emphasis on the Transforming Growth Factor β (TGFβ) pathway. Defects in TGFβ signalling lead to cardiovascular diseases such as Marfan syndrome and Hereditary Haemorrhagic Telangiectasia, but are also found in haematopoietic malignancies like leukaemia. Our approach includes classical genetic analyses, but also the use of Tol2-mediated transgenesis and genome editing tools (CRISPRs/TALENs), transcriptional profiling and epigenetic analysis. We use the zebrafish as a model and are developing tools to model human cardiovascular diseases induced by altered TGFβ signalling.

The group is also interested in studying tissue-specific regulatory regions (enhancers) that are used by the transcription factors to drive the expression of critical haematopoietic genes during development and in disease. Deletion of a conserved Gat2a enhancer leads to severe cytopenias in homozygous enhancer mutants, reminiscent of Gata2 deficiency syndromes in human. Our lab is currently exploring this mutant to gain critical insights into the progression of Gata2 deficiency. Understanding the mechanisms underlying gene regulation in normal development as well as in disease models is crucial to help find strategies to correct those mechanisms in disease.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Canonical BMP signalling in vertebrate: lessons from mice and fish, Hubrecht Lab

Award Date: 24 May 2005

Master in Science, n/a, University of Lisbon

Award Date: 31 Mar 2000


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