FindAPhD Weekly PhD Newsletter | JOIN NOW FindAPhD Weekly PhD Newsletter | JOIN NOW

Bioinformatic analyses of patients with cancer to identify novel biomarkers of survival

   Cardiff School of Medicine

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Prof J P Cheadle, Prof V Escott-Price  No more applications being accepted  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Our group identifies inherited genetic changes that influence risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC) and considers whether these variants might affect patient survival. We have previously shown that risk variants in E-cadherin are highly associated with survival (Summers et al. EJC 2020) and these variants represent plausible prognostic biomarkers given E-cadherin’s known role in tumour growth and metastasis. We have also performed genome-wide association analyses to identify further prognostic biomarkers such as ERBB4 (Wills et al. EJC 2021).

Here, we propose to extend these analyses and exploit data from the UK BioBank on 500,000 individuals, 7806 of whom have CRC. We will also seek common mechanisms of tumourigenesis by studying 19349, 14130, 4676, 5059 and 3774 patients with breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, melanoma and lymphoma, respectively. The UK BioBank is a rich dataset with environmental, dietary, disease, survival and imaging data together with matching genetic data both at imputed SNP and exome level. To download and run the analyses, we have access to a dedicated storage of 32TB on the high-performance computer in Cardiff University. For raw exome analyses, we will utilise the UK BioBank cloud based storage and compute. This project has broad scope with multiple avenues which will allow for creative free thinking – for example, the student could compute the patients time to metastases which could be factored into the analyses. Furthermore, there will be opportunities to apply machine learning based approaches to the data.

We seek an enthusiastic candidate that holds (or is predicted to gain) a 1st or 2:1 (or equivalent) in a Biological Science with bioinformatic / coding skills. This project is 100% computer based and will provide a solid foundation for a future academic career in cancer genetics research. We would like to start this studentship in Oct 2022.

Cheadle together with Escott-Price, will oversee the student’s studies. Cheadle has successfully supervised 17 Ph.D. students with a 100% completion record. The student will also be supported by experienced bioinformaticians within our group. Cheadle has a long-standing international reputation in Medical Genetic research and was responsible for the identification of the CRC predisposition gene MUTYH. The group also has substantial expertise in identifying low and moderate penetrance CRC-susceptibility alleles, and, germline and somatic alleles that affect prognosis. His laboratory has a strong track record in translating basic research into clinical practice.

Our Division holds weekly seminars in which over 20 Ph.D. students attend and the student would be expected to regularly attend these meetings and to present their data via oral presentations on an annual basis. The student will also take part in the annual SoM post-graduate research day and present at the national NCRI Cancer Conference.

Application Process

We seek an enthusiastic candidate that holds (or is predicted to gain) a 1st or 2:1 (or equivalent) in a Biological Science with bioinformatic / coding skills.

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS)

The total duration of this PhD programme is 3 years. Following discussion with proposed supervisors and to be considered you must submit a formal application via Cardiff University’s online application service. Medicine - Study - Cardiff University

There is a box at the top right of the page labelled ‘Apply’, please ensure you select the correct ‘Qualification’ (Doctor of Philosophy), the correct ‘Mode of Study’ (Full Time) and the correct ‘Start Date’ (i.e. October 2022). This will take you to the application portal.

In the ‘Research Proposal’ section of the application enter the name of the project you are applying to.

Candidates must submit the following information:

  • Supporting statement 
  • CV 
  • Qualification certificates 
  • Proof of Funding i.e. a letter of intent from your sponsor or confirmation of self-funded status.
  • References x 2 
  • Proof of English language (if applicable)

Closing date for applicants is the 31st March 2022.

Funding Notes

This is a Self-Funded/Sponsored PhD opportunity.
Full UK/EU or International Tuition Fees
UK Living Expenses
Bench Fees (where applicable)
Open to all students of any nationality without restrictions (UK/EU and International)
PhD saved successfully
View saved PhDs