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Clonal dynamics of a metastatic benign cancer

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, November 15, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Dermal cylindroma is a rare inherited disease of multiple benign, disfiguring tumors caused by inherited mutations in the gene CYLD. These typically grow on the head and neck, causing extreme discomfort to patients. The tumours that develop are highly heterogeneous and have distinct columnar structures. Surprisingly, benign metastases have been reported suggesting that cylindroma may offer insights into the interaction of the tumour and the environment associated with metastasis in cancer more generally.
In this studentship the patterns of mutation observed in two key (DNMT3A and BCOR) taken from biopsies will be analysed to model the growth and development of cylindroma. The student will build models of clonal growth and competition in the disease using data shared by clinical collaborators in the Nik-Zainal group. Over the course of the PhD the student will identify the underlying hierarchy of cells, before investigating the role of different genes in the development and progression of the disease.

More information about the research undertaken in the Hall Group can be found here:

How to apply
Applications will need to be made through the University Application Portal and will entail an application fee of £65. Please visit: for further information about the programme and to access the Applicant Portal. Please note that the course code for PhD applications to the MRC Cancer Unit is MDCU22. Whilst making your online application please make it clear which project area(s) and principal investigator(s) you are interested in working with. Your online application needs to include:

• A CV, including full details of all University course grades to date.
• Contact details for two academic or professional referees.
• A personal statement outlining your interest in a specific project area, what you hope to achieve from a PhD, and your research experience to date.

The above information must be provided under relevant sections on the application portal.

Completing the Research section
If you are applying for one project only: in the ‘Proposed title of Research’ textbox, insert the project title. If you wish to apply for more than one project, insert ‘Cancer Research’.

If you are applying to more than one supervisor: in the ‘Proposed Supervisor’ textbox, insert the initials of the Supervisors you wish to consider your application and in the ‘Research Summary’ textbox, insert the project titles being offered by those Supervisors.

Please describe your research experience in the appropriate textbox.

Interviews are expected to take place in December.

Please contact with any other enquiries concerning studentships or eligibility criteria.

Funding Notes

We welcome applications from those holding or expecting to obtain at least an upper second class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant scientific subject. Studentships are funded by the Medical Research Council and are open to UK and EU applicants only. Other international students are not eligible to apply. UK applicants will receive full funding of University and College fees and a stipend of £18,000 pa. EU applicants will be funded on a fees-only basis, unless they meet the MRC's eligibility criteria for residency For further details visit: View Website). Successful applicants will be registered with the University of Cambridge.

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)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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