2 x fully funded PhD Studentships available, funded by the Life Sciences Initiative (LSI)

Start Date:   25 Spetmber 2017

We are pleased to be offering 2 studentships funded by QMUL's Life Sciences Initiative. These studentships are open to Home/EU applicants and will be collaborative projects between Barts Cancer Institute and the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences.

Our studentships aim to develop a cohort of scientists equipped both intellectually and technically to conduct the highest quality research on cancer.

Our research degrees are supplemented by a comprehensive support programme, providing training in a wide range of biomedical laboratory methods and other vital transferable skills.

Funding

These studentships includes the following funding for 3 years:

  • A tax free annual stipend in line with the RCUK recommended rate: £16,553 p/a
  • Project consumables
  • Tuition Fees (up to the Home/EU rate only)

Details of the 2 projects are given below.

Tackling drug resistance in cancer using evolutionary ecology theory

Primary Supervisor:  Professor Trevor Graham (Barts Cancer Institute)

Secondary Supervisor:  Professor Richard Nichols (School of Biological & Chemical Siences)

Centre for Tumour Biology

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Project summary

Cancer treatment fails because of the evolution of drug-resistant populations within the tumour. To improve patient outcomes, we urgently need a new approach to treatment that is explicitly designed to anticipate and manage the evolution of resistance. There is a repertoire of theory in evolutionary ecology to explain the rate and nature of adaptation to sudden changes in the environment, particularly pesticide use and rapid climate change. This body of evolutionary theory is strongly analogous to that needed to explain the emergence of resistance during cancer therapy – both involve a sudden new selective regime (temperature, presence of a pesticide, or drug). In this PhD project, we propose to translate this theory to understand the development of resistant clones in cancer, and then to construct new treatment regimes that are designed to forestall or even prevent their emergence. The project will involve theory development, bioinformatic analysis of human cancer data and in vitro evolution experiments to critically evaluate the theoretical predictions.

The project is a cross-school collaboration between the School of Medicine (Graham Lab, Barts Cancer Institute) and School of Biological and Chemical Sciences (Nichols Lab), and builds upon Cancer Research UK and Wellcome Trust funding to the Graham Lab.

Full details of the proposed project can be found here: goo.gl/KlBRN6

Who should apply

We are looking for a graduate with an interest in evolutionary theory of cancer drug resistance with, or expecting, at least an upper second class honours degree in a biological or quantitative subject.

Applicants for whom English is not a first language will also require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent, unless their undergraduate degree was studied in and awarded by an English speaking country. For more information on acceptable English language qualifications please click here.

How to apply

Application Deadline: Monday 17 April 2017

To be eligible for this PhD studentship you need:

  • A minimum 2:1 degree in a biological or quantitative subject
  • If English is not your first language, an IELTS score of 6.5 or better.

To apply you will need to complete our online PhD application form. As part of this you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Your CV
  • Statement of purpose
  • Details of 2 referees. At least one of these must be an academic referee.
  • Copy of your transcript(s), including a breakdown of marks
  • Copy of your passport
  • If applicable, proof of English proficiency

Please ensure you provide all supporting documents, as we are unable to consider incomplete applications.

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An integrated multi-omics approach to model the field cancerisation and its microenvironment in breast cancer

Primary Supervisor:  Professor Claude Chelala (Barts Cancer Institute)

Secondary Supervisor:  Professor Conrad Bessant (School of Biological & Chemical Siences)

                                          Professor Louise Jones (Barts Cancer Institute)

Centre for Molecular Oncology

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Project summary

Background: The concept of field cancerisation was introduced more that 50 years ago to describe the existence of genetic alterations in morphologically normal tissue taken from around a visible tumour, thought to represent early molecular events predisposing to the development of malignancy. There is clearly wide interest in the research community in understanding the molecular pathogenesis of precursor lesions but the relationship of such lesions to field cancerisation has received little attention. However, the ability to identify and delineate such predisposed tissue has obvious implications for the understanding of early neoplastic change, risk assessment, chemoprevention and margin assessment in breast conservation.

Aims: We propose to apply a standard procedure and nomenclature for the collection of non-malignant breast tissues and use an integrated omics approach to provide a unique resource, which not only will improve the quality of breast cancer research at Barts and The London and add value to ongoing biobanking activities, but also allow for the first time specific questions to be asked related to field cancerisation and its clinical utility.

Techniques and Methodology: We will use an integrated computational and molecular approach to examine whole genome, transcriptome and proteome in breast cancer field cancerisation. The clinical utility of field markers will be assessed in independent clinical cohorts with long time follow-up data.

Impact on breast cancer research: This project will have a major impact on breast cancer research by assessing the clinical value of field markers in predicting the risk of cancer initiation, development, prognosis and recurrence. It will build on the success of the Breast Cancer Now Tissue Bank with the added potential to direct the modern management of breast cancer.

Impact on LSI: This project involves collaborations between researchers and clinicians across QM and Barts Health, bringing together technologies and cementing relationships between individuals, which will contribute to the LSI’s future development and success.

Who should apply

We are looking for a graduate with an interest in computational/molecular biology, with, or expecting, at least an upper second class honours degree in a computational or molecular biology subject.

Applicants for whom English is not a first language will also require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent, unless their undergraduate degree was studied in and awarded by an English speaking country. For more information on acceptable English language qualifications please click here.

How to apply

Application deadline: Monday 01 May 2017

To be eligible for this PhD studentship you need:

  • A minimum 2:1 degree in a computational or molecular biology subject
  • If English is not your first language, an IELTS score of 6.5 or better.

To apply you will need to complete our online PhD application form. As part of this you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Your CV
  • Statement of purpose
  • Details of 2 referees. At least one of these must be an academic referee.
  • Copy of your transcript(s), including a breakdown of marks
  • Copy of your passport
  • If applicable, proof of English proficiency

Please ensure you provide all supporting documents, as we are unable to consider incomplete applications.

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