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Cancer Research UK funded 4 year studentship: RNA Pol II subunits in the regulation of transcription and genome instability

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Saponaro
    Dr A Gambus
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Applications are invited for a non-clinical PhD studentship at the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Birmingham Centre. Capitalising on a single biomedical campus comprising the University of Birmingham and key clinical partners including University Hospitals Birmingham, the Centre builds on Birmingham’s integrated scientific and clinical research programmes and aligned clinical trials, which contribute to a cancer research portfolio of ~£25 million per year. The Centre establishes Birmingham as one of the UK’s premier sites for cancer research, and provides an opportunity to deliver internationally significant translational cancer science. Our mission is to catalyse translationally aligned fundamental discovery science in oncology, and novel therapeutic developments originating from this research, contributing to CRUK’s strategic target of increasing cancer survival rates from 50% to 75% within the next 10 years. Linked strategically with Birmingham’s Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and UoB’s CRUK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU), the Centre forms part of a vibrant pathway for genuine bench-to-bedside cancer research.

Deregulated transcription is a known hallmark of cancer cells, with many transcription factors being well-established oncogenes. We have now found that also the RNA Polymerase machineries that do the transcription can be directly deregulated in cancer cells. Importantly, this correlates with genome unstable tumors with reduced patients’ survival, across multiple cancer types. We hypothesize that the deregulations of the RNA Polymerase machineries induce defective transcription, that we know has a detrimental effect on genome stability maintenance because impairs DNA replication progression, inducing replication stress.
The student will be combining multiple functional genomic approaches with proteomics and synthetic lethality studies, to ascertain the mechanisms behind the increased DNA damage and the poor patients’ outcome in cells and cancers with RNA Polymerase machineries deregulations, and identify potential approaches to exploit these therapeutically.

The Transcription-Associated Genome Instability group within the CRUK Birmingham Cancer Centre ( explores the impact of RNA Polymerase transcription on genome instability. It deploys a multidisciplinary approach to determine how deregulated transcription induces DNA damage, but also how cells alter RNA Polymerases progression to support the DNA damage response. It determines so at the fine molecular level the overall role of transcription in genome stability maintenance, aiming to identify synthetic lethality approaches to exploit deregulations of these processes in patients.
The deadline for applications is Friday 15th February 2019. Successful applicants will have experience in laboratory research, and will be highly motivated and ambitious. They will have a collegiate mind set, and as well as benefitting from the diverse expertise, resources and opportunities the Centre studentship programme has to offer, they will be willing to work in partnership with Centre colleagues to promote and publicise the research of the Centre. As part of this, the studentship will provide opportunities for science engagement activities in the cancer area.

Join the CRUK Birmingham Centre as a PhD Student and help to make it one of the UK’s most successful sites for translationally oriented cancer research.

Person Specification

Applicants should have a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a relevant subject, and some experience of working in a laboratory. They should have a strong commitment to research, strong interpersonal skills, and a willingness to take part in public engagement activities.
How to apply
Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Marco Saponaro ([Email Address Removed])

Applications should be directed to Claire Fenlon ([Email Address Removed])

To apply, please send:
• A detailed CV, including your nationality and country of birth;
• Names and addresses of two referees, ideally who have supervised your laboratory research,
but excluding proposed supervisors for the project;
• A personal statement highlighting your research experience/capabilities and your reason for applying for a PhD studentship at the CRUK Birmingham Centre;
• Copies of your degree certificates with transcripts;
• Evidence of your proficiency in the English language, if applicable.

Related Subjects

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