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Determining the translational potential of the highly phosphorylated proto-oncogene PBF

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

In order to translate the many molecular alterations now detectable in human tumours into effective clinical management we need to fully understand their impact on tumour biology. A key role is now emerging for the pituitary tumor-transforming gene-binding factor (PBF) in tumour growth and progression. The proto-oncogene PBF contains one of the most highly phosphorylated residues in the entire phosphoproteome and we are currently investigating the role of phosphorylated PBF both in normal biology and in tumourigenesis.

This project will contribute to new and exciting studies involving cell lines and in vivo models with either PBF deletion or specific mutation of the key phosphorylation site generated using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing. Studies will focus initially on thyroid cancer as a paradigm of PBF upregulation in which PBF is best characterised. Furthermore, new avenues of investigation are being explored following recent proteomic and phosphoproteomic screens that have identified novel pathways and effectors downstream of PBF. Such a comprehensive study of this proto-oncogene is now essential to improve our knowledge of tumour biology and to evaluate PBF as a genuine therapeutic target in cancer.

Person Specification
Applicants should have a strong background in molecular biology/medical sciences. They should have a commitment to endocrinology and/or cancer research and hold or realistically expect to obtain at least an Upper Second Class Honours Degree in Biomedical Sciences or a similar subject.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Vicki Smith ().

To be considered for this studentship, please send the following documents to Viktorija Ziabliceva ():
• A detailed CV, including your nationality and country of birth;
• Names and addresses of two referees;
• A covering letter highlighting your research experience/capabilities;
• Copies of your degree certificates with transcripts;
• Evidence of your proficiency in the English language, if applicable.

Funding Notes

Self-funded applications only.


1) Smith VE, Franklyn JA, McCabe CJ. Expression and function of the novel proto-oncogene PBF in thyroid cancer - a new target for augmenting radioiodine uptake. Journal of Endocrinology. 2011 Aug;210(2):157-63.
2) Smith VE, Sharma N, Watkins RJ, Read ML, Ryan GA, Kwan PP, Martin A, Watkinson JC, Boelaert K, Franklyn JA, McCabe CJ. Manipulation of PBF/PTTG1IP phosphorylation status; a new therapeutic strategy for improving radioiodine uptake in thyroid and other tumors. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2013 Jul;98(7):2876-86
3) Watkins RJ, Imruetaicharoenchoke W, Read ML, Sharma N, Poole VL, Gentillin E, Bansal S, Bosseboeuf E, Fletcher R, Nieto HR, Mallick U, Hackshaw A, Mehanna H, Boelaert K, Smith VE, McCabe CJ. Pro-invasive effect of proto-oncogene PBF is modulated by an interaction with cortactin. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2016 Sep 7:jc20161932.

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