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Assessing the impacts of targeting mRNA translation machinery on metabolic fitness of glioblastoma cancer cells


   School of Medicine, Dentistry & Biomedical Sciences

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  Dr S M Jafarnejad, Dr C Adrain  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Also open to applicants from the Republic of Ireland

The current standards of care for glioblastoma are rarely curative, highlighting the urgent need for a better understanding of its biology to enhance the development of innovative therapeutic approaches.

We have evidence that demonstrates the key role of a mRNA translation factor in maintenance of metabolic homeostasis of glioblastoma cancer cells. We aim to study the mechanism by which this protein regulates metabolic processes and assess the impacts of its depletion on metabolic reprogramming and survival of glioblastoma cells.

Energy production and metabolism are essential processes for supporting the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. mRNA translation is the process by which cells produce proteins and therefore is a key element in regulation of cellular metabolism. Whereas in normal cells mRNA translation is tightly controlled, dysregulated translation is a common phenomenon in cancers, including glioblastoma. Cancer cells commonly enhance the rate of energy production and metabolism by accelerating mRNA translation.

We have evidence that demonstrates the important role of a mRNA translation factor in maintenance of cell survival and metabolic homeostasis of glioblastoma cancer cells through production of proteins that are instrumental in controlling the mitochondrial activity. We aim to study the mechanism by which this translation factor regulates key metabolic processes and assess the impacts of its depletion on metabolic reprogramming and survival in cancer cells.

Besides providing ground-breaking insights into the mechanisms of tumourigenesis and regulation of metabolic pathways in cancer cells, this work will be critical for identifying novel vulnerabilities of cancer cells that could be exploited for development of effective anti-cancer treatments.

This project will provide an ideal training opportunity for a PhD student at the intersection of RNA biology, metabolism, and cancer biology. The student will gain skills in a wide range of biochemistry, cell & molecular biology, genomics, and cancer biology assays. Our national and international collaborations and attending conferences will further enhance the student’s professional network and career prospective. For further information about our research and recent publications please visit: https://www.jafarnejad-lab.com/

Dr Jafarnejad publication list: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Jafarnejad+SM&sort=date

Dr Adrain publication list: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Adrain%20C&sort=date

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

You must hold or expect to get an upper second class honours degree from a university in the UK or Ireland, or qualifications and experience considered by the University as equivalent to that standard. Candidates who already hold a doctoral degree, or who have registered on a PhD for one year (or part-time equivalent) or not eligible.

English Language

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.

The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:

·        IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;

·        TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);

·        A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;

·        A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or

·        A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/Applying/English-language-requirements/#English

INTO Queen’s English Language Courses offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained at: https://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/Applying/University-Preparation-Courses/INTOEnglishlanguagecoursesatQueens/


Funding Notes

Funded by Brainwave NI and Royal Society. For UK domiciled students the value of an award includes the cost of approved tuition fees and maintenance support (Fees £4,596, Stipend £16,062). To be considered eligible you must have been ordinarily resident in the UK for the full 3 year period prior to the start of the studentship and you must be ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland on the first day of the start of the studentship.
Further Funding Eligibility: Also open to applicants from the Republic of Ireland.

References

Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, The Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research, website for further details about the Centre:
https://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/cancer-research/

Please click on the 'Apply Now' button to apply.
When applying, please choose 'MEDICINE' as your subject area/School
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