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Clonal and cell state heterogeneity in breast cancer xenografts

  • Full or part time
    Prof C Caldas
  • Application Deadline
    Saturday, November 30, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Members of the Caldas research team have developed a biobank of patient-derived breast cancer xenografts (Bruna et al, Cell 2016) that represent the inter- and intra-tumour heterogeneity of human breast cancers (Curtis et al, Nature 2012; Pereira et al, Nat Commun 2016; Rueda et al, Nature 2019). These models are ideal tools to study clonal and cell state heterogeneity and how it affects tumour behaviour (dormancy, metastases, therapy resistance). The student will work on new clonal and cell state marking approaches, using barcoding and single cell analysis, to study evolution of the xenografts in vivo in response to perturbations (drugs, radiation, CRISPR screens). The aim is to unravel the mechanisms of the diverse tumour responses.

Preferred skills/knowledge
Experience both in wet lab and dry lab is desirable; however outstanding individuals with either a purely quantitative background such as Physics or Mathematics, or experimental laboratory background such as Biotechnology are also welcome to apply. The successful candidate must be strongly motivated to drive an independent research project, but also be a highly collaborative individual. A strong interest in translational cancer research is needed to work in the Caldas laboratory.

Please click on ’Visit Website’ for details on how to apply. You must submit an application on-line to be considered for this studentship.

Funding Notes

This project is funded by a Cancer Research UK studentship that includes full funding for University and College fees and a stipend of £19,000 per annum. The study start date will be October 2020 (Michaelmas Term 2020).

No nationality restrictions apply to Cancer Research UK funded studentships. Applications are invited from recent graduates or final year undergraduates who hold or expect to gain a first/upper second class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject from any recognised university worldwide.


Bruna A, Rueda OM, Greenwood W, et al. A Biobank of Breast Cancer Explants with Preserved Intra-tumor Heterogeneity to Screen Anticancer Compounds. Cell 2016; 167 (1):260-74.

Curtis C, Shah SP, Chin SF, et al. The genomic and transcriptomic architecture of 2,000 breast tumours reveals novel subgroups. Nature 2012; 486 (7403):346-52.

Pereira B, Chin SF, Rueda OM, et al. The somatic mutation profiles of 2,433 breast cancers refine their genomic and transcriptomic landscapes. Nat Communications 2016; 7 (11479).

Rueda OM, Sammut SJ, Seoane JA, Chin SF et al, Dynamics of breast-cancer relapse reveal late-recurring ER-positive genomic subgroups. Nature 2019; 567 (7748): 399-404.

How good is research at University of Cambridge in Clinical Medicine?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 192.05

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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