Chileleko Siachisumo


Institute of Genetic Medicine Newcastle University

Supervisor: Professor David Elliott

I am interested in functional biology. I did my undergraduate degree at Newcastle University in Biomedical Sciences. During my undergraduate degree I did a 10 week placement in the lab of Dr Jun-yong Huang studying cell cycle regulation. I received sponsorship from the school of Biomedical Sciences for this placement. My final undergraduate project involved an independent lab project. The first aim of the project was to determine what enzymes were present in an unknown test sample. The second aim was to optimise the blocking step of the Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISAs) using different blocking buffers. Following my undergraduate degree I worked for 1 year at Honeyman Group Ltd carrying out product testing in both chemistry and microbiology. I did an MSc at the University of Leeds in Molecular Medicine. I did a 4 month research project as part of my MSc looking at methylation marks in CLL relapse patients.

Project Title: Molecular biology and bioinformatics analysis of splicing regulation in spermatogenesis 

The aim of my PhD project is to characterise RNA targets of RBMX and RBMXL2. RBMX and RBMXL2 are RNA binding protein involved in splicing. Splicing is the mechanism by which pre-mRNA transcripts are processed into mature RNA, by the removal of introns.  How RNA binding proteins interact with specific RNAs to control pre-mRNA splicing remains still poorly understood. The RNA targets will be identified using iCLIP.  iCLIP is a method used to identify direct RNA targets of RNA binding proteins. I am currently working to optimise the iCLIP method in MDA-MB-231 cells. RBMX targets will be identified in the MDA-MB231 cell line and the RBMXL2 targets will be identified in mouse testes.  The identified RNA targets will be used together with available RNAseq data from MDA-MB-231 cells and mouse testes for both RBMX and RBMXL2 respectively.

Other activities

During the last year I attended the UK RNA Splicing Meeting. I have been involved in Bright Club comedy where I performed an act based on a few thigs people encounter working in academia. I volunteered as an event organiser for the Tech me Out event of Pint of Science. I also volunteered to assist with the Soap Box Science event. I have assisted in the supervision of two successful undergraduate research laboratory projects.

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