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Cancer Research UK funded 4 year studentship: Targeting the 3q amplification

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.

Chromosome 3q26/28 is amplified (3qamp) in many common cancers, such as squamous cell carcinoma of the lung (>40%), breast (>20%) head and neck (>20%) and is altered in 3748 (7%) of 54332 sequenced cancer cases (cbioportal). In addition to driver genes 3qamp contains three DNA repair genes.

We intend to investigate the hypothesis that 3qamp tumours are more reliant on DNA repair response pathways than non-amplified cells or normal epithelia. We will address where the elevated repair need in 3qamp cells lies and how it can be targeted. We will address whether 3qamp cells are dependent on the repair enzymes expressed within the amplicon, which are potentially tractable to small molecule inhibition. Finally we will ask whether 3qamp repair gene expression might slow the DNA damage and senescence brought about by oncogene over-expression.

The student will join a dynamic and exciting grouping bringing together DNA repair and cell biology expertise (Morris), with clinical experience and expertise with an active drug discovery groups (Mehanna, Batis) and expertise in pharmacology and translational medical research (Batis). Area-specific training, close supervision, research presentations and workshops within each group will be available to the student. The student will complete their PhD with an enviable set of skills applicable to pharma’ and biotech sectors, or an academic career in translational cancer biology.

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. Additionally, non-EU applicants must provide evidence that they can self-fund.
How to apply

Informal enquiries should be directed to Prof Jo Morris ()

Applications should be directed to Claire Fenlon ()

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.

Funding Notes

Funded by a Cancer Research UK Studentship awarded to the Cancer Research UK Birmingham Cancer Centre. Non-EU applicants are not eligible for the funding for this project. Successful applicants will be awarded a non-taxable annual stipend plus payment of university tuition fees.

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