Heather Jeffery

Personal photo - Heather Jeffery

Heather Jeffery

DPhil student at the Doctoral Training Centre

Rex Richards Building, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QU

DPhil in Interdisciplinary Bioscience at the University of Oxford

DPhil project: An investigation of chromatin structure in single molecules
Supervisor: Professor Conrad Nieduszynski

Genomic organisation within the nucleus is a compromise between available space and ease of access of DNA-binding proteins, including transcription and replication factors, to their respective sites on DNA. The majority of DNA-binding proteins display preference for particular sequence motifs, though current chromatin structure experiments on populations of cells show vast variation. Studies have identified many "fuzzy" binding sites where the position differs between cells. It is not known if these are important for genome organisation or other protein binding in proximal sites. This project seeks to develop a method that can be applied to single molecules to examine the true binding positions in individual cases, allowing potential interactions to be examined.

DPhil rotation 2: Chemical modification of DNA to probe chromatin structure.
Supervisor: Professor Conrad Nieduszynski

This project was the initial stage of my main DPhil project (see above).

DPhil rotation 1: Investigation of Leishmania mexicana flagellar proteome
Supervisor: Dr Eva Gluenz

This project involved using CRISPR-Cas9 to generate multiple knock-out cell lines, for proteins localised to the flagella. Viability and growth were subsequently assessed, with those with growth defects being selected for subsequent electron microscopy and motility phenotypic analysis.

Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) courses taken in 2016:

  1. Essential mathematics
  2. Programming
  3. Scientific computing including Matlab
  4. Data management and statistics


2012 - 2016
Biochemistry with a Year in Industry BSc First class - Imperial College London
Final year undergraduate project: Molecular Dynamics of Transcription factor-coactivator complex
2014 - 2015
Year placement - St George's University


  • Programming - An introduction to programming for first year PhD students in the life sciences.
    This covered Linux, python and C.
  • Bacteriology laboratory sessions for 2nd year undergraduate biomedical science students
  • Roles of responsibility

  • President of the Graduate Student Association of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology
  • Trip and Safety Officer for the Oxford University Walking Club
  • Courses

    Sysmic Module 1: Introduction in Quantitative Skills for Bioscience (in progress)
    Public Engagement course with the Medical Sciences Division (in progress)

    Funding Awards

    £350 - Old Members Trust Award from University College, Oxford
    £400 - General Travel Grant from the Biochemical Society


    'Big Data in Health Research' summer school at the University of Utrecht, Holland
    European Society of Human Genetics conference in Glasgow



    Badminton, playing violin, running, hiking, gliding and scottish dancing.

    Link to page 2